February 12, 2019: Book Of The Month unboxing

I recently received my Book Of The Month selection for February: A Woman Is No Man by Etaf Rum. It’s a story set in Pakistan and Brooklyn, NY, spanning three generations of women dealing with strife and traditional constructs.


Palestine, 1990. Seventeen-year-old Isra prefers reading books to entertaining the suitors her father has chosen for her. Over the course of a week, the naïve and dreamy girl finds herself quickly betrothed and married, and is soon living in Brooklyn. There Isra struggles to adapt to the expectations of her oppressive mother-in-law Fareeda and strange new husband Adam, a pressure that intensifies as she begins to have children—four daughters instead of the sons Fareeda tells Isra she must bear.

Brooklyn, 2008. Eighteen-year-old Deya, Isra’s oldest daughter, must meet with potential husbands at her grandmother Fareeda’s insistence, though her only desire is to go to college. Deya can’t help but wonder if her options would have been different had her parents survived the car crash that killed them when Deya was only eight. But her grandmother is firm on the matter: the only way to secure a worthy future for Deya is through marriage to the right man.

But fate has a will of its own, and soon Deya will find herself on an unexpected path that leads her to shocking truths about her family—knowledge that will force her to question everything she thought she knew about her parents, the past, and her own future.

I love that each package comes wrapped. It really was a lifesaver a couple months back, when my package was left out in the rain for two days, and I had no clue!

February 12, 2019: Library Book Haul (and Barnes and Noble purchase)!

I picked up three books over the weekend; Two from the library, and one Barnes and Noble purchase. I enjoy picking up selections from my local library, and I try to frequent it every chance I get.

Since I’m eager to finish the Grisha trilogy, I picked up the last book in the series, ‘Ruin and Rising’ by Leigh Bardugo. This story takes place a few months after the showdown between Alina and the Darkling at Os Alta.

Synopsis of ‘Ruin and Rising’:
The capital has fallen. The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne. Now the nation’s fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army.
Deep in an ancient network of tunnels and caverns, a weakened Alina must submit to the dubious protection of the Apparat and the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Yet her plans lie elsewhere, with the hunt for the elusive firebird and the hope that an outlaw prince still survives.
Alina will have to forge new alliances and put aside old rivalries as she and Mal race to find the last of Morozova’s amplifiers. But as she begins to unravel the Darkling’s secrets, she reveals a past that will forever alter her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields. The firebird is the one thing that stands between Ravka and destruction and claiming it could cost Alina the very future she’s fighting for.

I also picked up ‘A Blade so Black’ by L.L. McKinney. This story is a retelling of ‘Alice and Wonderland, set in modern day Atlanta, Georgia.

Synopsis of ‘A Blade so Black’:

The first time the Nightmares came, it nearly cost Alice her life. Now she’s trained to battle monstrous creatures in the dark dream realm known as Wonderland with magic weapons and hardcore fighting skills. Yet even warriors have a curfew.

Life in real-world Atlanta isn’t always so simple, as Alice juggles an overprotective mom, a high-maintenance best friend, and a slipping GPA. Keeping the Nightmares at bay is turning into a full-time job. But when Alice’s handsome and mysterious mentor is poisoned, she has to find the antidote by venturing deeper into Wonderland than she’s ever gone before. And she’ll need to use everything she’s learned in both worlds to keep from losing her head . . . literally.

I also stopped in at Barnes and Noble to pick up ‘The Hate U Give’ by Angie Thomas. I’ve been wanting to read this story for quite some time. I know I could have also picked it up at the library, but I read the first few pages of ‘The Hate U Give’ at B & N, and I immediately wanted to take it home. So there you have it!

Synopsis of ‘The Hate U Give’:
Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

I hope to complete ‘Ruin and Rising’ in a few days, so that I can begin ‘A Blade So Black’!

February 9, 2019: ‘The Oyster Thief’ by Sonia Faruqi/A Review

‘The Oyster Thief’ is Sonia Faruqi’s debut novel concerning the value of marine life, and what could happen if huge corporations violate precious underwater commodities. It’s a story spoken through two main characters. Coralline, a young mermaid living in the underwater world of Meristem, who is engaged to be married. Izar Eridan is the son of Antares, head of Ocean Dominion, a corporation that seeks to destroy the ocean’s beloved coral reefs and precious marine life. Coralline has passions in life, yet feels bound to rules and restrictions within her controlling mother. This pull toward normalcy is disrupted as a tragic oil spill, triggered from one of Izar’s ships, wreaks havoc in Coralline’s world, sickening her younger brother Naiadium. She then goes on an adventure to seek out a legendary elixir to heal him.

Izar, meanwhile, discovers suspicious events leading up to the oil spill disaster. These events seem to lead to the answers of his personal origins. His journey leads to a shocking revelation, yet he abruptly awakens in the ocean as a merman, suffering what he feels is a vicious attack. He then runs into Coralline, and he learns about her quest for the legendary elixir. He then joins Coralline to claim the cure (secretly for himself) in order to restore his human nature.

I deeply enjoyed reading The Oyster Thief. The character development with Coralline was quite significant. She grows from a woman who fears breaking rules due to the opinions of many into a strong person who ventures out to claim what is rightfully hers. She endures quite a change in character, as great obstacles get thrown into her path. Izar goes through quite a change in character himself, as his mindset as a big corporate conglomerate shifts dramatically as his mindset of the underwater world shifts dramatically due to Coralline sharing with him the ways of ocean life.
I also enjoyed reading about the underwater would of Meristem. Sonia Faruqi beautifully wrote about an ocean world that co-existed beautifully with the land of Menkar. Since there were two parallel perspectives throughout the novel, we have a dual viewpoint of Coralline’s life of these ocean communities, and Izar’s life above ground and his ocean ‘quests’.

It was also quite lovely to read about the relationship between Coralline and Izar. Their origin stories were destined for their paths to never cross: Izar was raised to run Ocean Dominion; and Coralline, a mermaid, represents everything that Izar stands against. It takes Izar’s transformation as a merman, combing the waters with Coralline and her muses (known as bonded sea animals), that opens Izar’s mind to the beauty of ocean life and its inhabitants. As the book progresses, their friendship deepens, creating a love triangle that sends both Coralline and Izar into their own personal conflicts. I will say that the third part of this novel was filled with many emotional scenes, as Coralline and Izar’s quests lead to their dramatic conclusions.

Sonia Faruqi wrote a very captivating debut novel, and I look forward to reading more tales from her in the future.

(5/5 stars)

Trigger warning: ‘The Oyster Thief’ contains a scene describing sexual assault.

Professional Reader

January 8, 2019: Bookish Thoughts

I’m about halfway through ‘City of Ghosts’ by Victoria Schwab. It’s a pretty good story…although it’s a ‘middle grade’ novel, t has enough paranormal activity to keep me interested. I hope to be done reading it by this weekend.

I want to pick up ‘The Oyster Thief’ by Sonia Faruqi next. It’s not available at my local library, so I made a request for them to carry it. I should hear for them in a couple weeks. Hopefully they’ll carry it. I love frequenting my library.

January 6, 2019: My New Read

I’m currently reading ‘City of Ghosts’ by Victoria Schwab. It’s a ‘middle grade’ story (a genre for for a younger audience), but I’ve heard lots of great things about the book. It’s heavy on paranormal activity, and I always love a good ghost story. So I’ll see how the book goes as I move further.

January 5, 2018: ‘One Day in December’ by Josie Silver/A Review

I purchased this novel from Book of the Month
Length: 416 pgs.
Publisher: Crown Publishing Group

     ‘One Day in December’ by Josie Silver is a lighthearted (yet moving) tale about friendship, lost love, and heartache through the years. The story is based in London, beginning around Christmas 2008. Laurie is a young woman stuck in a thankless job in hospitality, and she heads home on a bus when she spies Jack waiting at a bus stop. Their eyes meet for a moment before the bus continues toward Laurie’s home. Laurie spends a year searching for her mystery man, and she eventually finds him a year later…as her best friend Sarah’s new boyfriend. The story then follows the lives of these three individuals throughout the decade, documenting the growth and pitfalls of their relationship.

     I picked up ‘One Day in December’ as my Book of the Month December selection. Admittedly, Romantic Literature is a genre I rarely venture into as my main reading preference. What enticed me into picking up this selection is that the story largely centers around the Christmas season, and I was searching for Christmas-related books last month. While the novel is sectioned off in years, each part naturally circles back toward the holiday season, which I deeply appreciated.

     ‘One Day in December’ is narrated in the first person, divided into Laurie’s and Jack’s perspective. The novel documents their feelings toward each other as they navigate the line of platonic friendship and hidden attraction while maintaining their relationships with Sarah. Since this is a love story, Laurie’s life takes unexpected (yet predictable) twists and turns as she searches for true happiness. Through it all, Laurie discovers that as long as you have a strong, emotional support system, you will never be truly alone in life.

     I enjoyed reading ‘One Day in December’, and I’m glad I bought this as my monthly December selection.

Rating: 4/5

Blogmas Day 20: Naughty or Nice Tag

I came across a fun, bookish tag on The Orangutan Library’s blog. I was not tagged to take part in this, I decided to answer these questions on my own. It’s all in good fun!

Jenniely is the creator of this holiday tag!

  1) Received an ARC and not reviewed it 
I’ve only done that to one ARC I’ve received.

  2) Have less than 60% feedback rating on Netgalley 
No, this hasn’t happened yet.

  3) Rated a book on Goodreads and promised a full review was to come on your blog (and never did) 
I always leave reviews on my blog, so this is a no.

  4) Folded down the page of a book 
Sadly, yes…this has happened!

  5) Accidentally spilled on a book 
No, this hasn’t happened.

  6) DNF a book this year 
Yes, I’ve done this, in the beginning of the year. I try to avoid doing that!

  7) Bought a book purely because it was pretty with no intention of reading it
No, doing that is a waste of content!

  8) Read whilst you were meant to be doing something else (like homework) 
Of course, constantly!

  9) Skim read a book
Sure thing!

  10) Completely missed your Goodreads goal
Yes, that’s happened!

11) Borrowed a book and not returned it to the library 
Nope, always retuned my stuff!

  12) Broke a book buying ban
I don’t believe in those, lol

  13) Started a review, left it for ages then forgot what the book was about
I think I did that once!

  14) Wrote in a book you were reading
I highlighted in my Kindle book selections. I guess that sorta counts…

  15) Finished a book and not added it to your Goodreads
  That used to happen, but I’ve gotten better at adding my finished reads.

16) Borrowed a book and not returned it to a friend  
No, this has happened to me though!

  17) Dodged someone asking if they can borrow a book
Yes, because of what happened above!

  18) Broke the spine of someone else’s book 
No way!

19) Took the jacket off a book to protect it and ended up making it more damaged 
Yes, this happened to me a few years ago.

20) Sat on a book accidentally 
Sure, but no harm done!

December 20, 2018: Time for Reading

I wish I could read more of my current story during the week, since it’s a high page count. I’m still tackling my books about a couple chapters a night. Some days I have some time during my break, but I don’t want to get to used to reading then, since I usually get work tasks done. It does sound odd to do work assignments during my break, but since I don’t receive any prep time during the day, I usually spend my break times working. So I only get my reading done in the evening. I can manage a couple chapters before I fall asleep. Depending on what I’m reading, I need to pull myself away from the story, since I do value my sleep. Weekends are so valuable for personal time!

November 6, 2018: The fun with Book Crates…and remember to VOTE!!

I just received notice that my Book of the Month for November is being shipped out to me. Although my attention is on NaNoWriMo this month, I’m very much looking forward to receiving my book. It’s a novel by Liane Moriarty. I’m new to reading Moriarty’s work, so I’m going to enjoy reading some new material. I’m hoping it won’t be boring.

I’m also receiving my first OwlCrate shipment this month! I’m very much interested in picking up some new reads, and I also wanted to find a crate that promotes wonderful book related items. So far, aside from Book of the Month, OwlCrate seems like a fulfilling book box (with other fun items).

It’s Election Day, 2018. It’s the Mid-Term elections, which means that we can vote in officials who will actually care about our issues in American society. Without being influenced by the current President’s bullying tactics. If you’re living in America, don’t forget to vote today! The voting areas in New Jersey are open until 8pm tonight. Make your voice heard!

October 21, 2018: Birthdays and Reading Progress

  • I spoke to my aunt and uncle for a little while today. It’s their birthday, and each person is going through a significant change in life (one transitioning into a career change, the other readying for retirement). I offered my input as to where to seek information for a career shift. It’s understandably overwhelming, but I hope the change needed will take place soon.
  • Andy and I celebrated a relative’s 1st birthday party this afternoon at Chimney Rock, in Morris County. There were a lot of people enjoying this special moment in her life. When I went to my niece’s 1st birthday, it was a pool party/cookout event. Ana looked adorable in her swimsuit! I feel like the pool party was more for the adults than her, but it was a way to bring family and close friends together.
  • I’m making some progress in ‘Daughters of the Lake’! I’m about halfway done with the story. The familial lines of the characters are pretty lengthy, the build-up certainly leading to the impending plot twist. I’m looking forward to the shift.