Book Blogger Hop | August 16

The Book Blogger Hop is a weekly meme hosted by Billy @ Coffee Addicted Writer, in which you answer a prompt each week. It also helps you discover fellow contributors to check out and follow! You can view Coffee Addicted Writer’s post here.

This Week’s Book Blogger Hop Question Is:

How often do you visit your local library? (submitted by Billy @ Coffee Addicted Writer)

Well, before the pandemic changed everything, I visited my library about once a week. My library is always my go-to place for curriculum materials. I can’t wait for everything to be safe enough so I could visit frequently once again!

Levar Burton & friend exploring a Library

How often do you visit your local library? Do you miss it even more during these chaotic times?

Love and Light, Cathleen

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For more musings about Library Love, check out my post ‘Library Memories’!

This week’s Sunday Sentence was made possible by my library!

My Library Haul

Last weekend I picked up some exciting reads from my local library! These titles are ones that I’ve been anxiously awaiting to start!

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Back in my college years, I began reading Anna Karenina since I was intrigued by the love story. At the time I only knew that Tolstoy wrote War and Peace, so I was curious. Alas, I eventually placed the book to the side…not because I was disinterested, but my focus was placed toward my studies!
Let’s see how much I can absorb this time around!

A Kiss of Shadows by Laurell K. Hamilton
Laurell K. Hamilton is known for her Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter series,enthralling readers with Anita’s fearlessness and sexual escapades. A Kiss of Shadows follows the story of Meredith Gentry, a P.I. in Los Angeles whose true identity is Princess of the high court of Faerie. I’ve always been intrigued by this steamy world of the Fae, so I’m looking forward to reading it!

The Lost Girls of Paris by Pam Jenoff
I received The Lost Girls of Paris yesterday at my local library’s monthly book club. It was my first meeting with this wonderful group, and although I didn’t have time to read up on the book club pick, I really wanted to attend. One of the club members was nice enough to lend me her copy of the book. I was very grateful!
This is a Historical Fiction novel, set around the time of World War II. Since Historical Fiction is one of my favorite genres, I’m going to dive right in!

My Thoughts on ‘Wish’ by Barbara O’ Connor

‘Wish’ by Barbara O’ Connor
Length: 227 pgs.
Genre: Children (Middle Grade)
Publisher: Farrar Straus & Giroux
Standalone or Series: Standalone

I discovered ‘Wish’ while searching for another story at a local department store. When I walk into this location, the first stop I always head to is the large table of books that’s on display. It’s usually a mix of new releases and titles that have been out for a while. I didn’t come across what I was searching for, but my eyes fell on a cover with a young girl with an adorable dog. Being a dog lover, I immediately fell in love with the book cover! I made a note of the title, and reserved a copy at the library.
‘Wish’ by Barbara O’ Connor is about a young girl named Charlie, reluctantly placed to live with her aunt Bertha and Uncle Gus in Colby, North Carolina. Charlie feels very bitter and resentful about being removed from her home in Raleigh, despite the fact that her father is incarcerated and her mother was deemed unfit to care for both her and her sister Jackie. The peaceful, countryside surroundings is a world away from Raleigh’s city life, yet Bertha and Gus go to great lengths to make Charlie’s life as comfortable as possible. She also reluctantly befriends a classmate named Howard, a studious child who gets ridiculed due to his manner of walking, yet never lets that interfere with his life.
The story describes Charlie’s journey in socializing with new friends and community members while experiencing the internal struggle of missing her family. She goes to great lengths to make wishes whenever she comes upon a treasured color, a certain animal, or the first star in a twilight sky. Charlie hides her pain with anger, yet Howard expertly finds a bridge to communicate her fears so clearly by describing a ‘clothesline of troubles’ that everyone tends to in life. O’Connor refers to this phrase frequently in this story as Charlie learns how to trust Bertha and Gus, Howard and his family.
Charlie also discovers a stray dog near her home that she names Wishbone. Like Charlie, Wishbone also endures a journey to trust Charlie and her loved ones. Over time, Wishbone and Charlie experience the joys of good company, while uplifting one another. The story of Wishbone is a small piece of Charlie’s journey in her growth, yet the family and friends in her Colby community teach her that a loving home is not a distant dream.
‘Wish’ by Barbara O’ Connor is a Middle Grade children’s book (appropriate for children ages 8-12), so if you’re seeking a story for children about community, strength through struggles, and loving animals, then this book is for you. It was a very endearing read!

Rating: 4/5 Stars

March 3, 2019: Six of Crows Reading Blog #2

I’m about halfway through Leigh Bardugo’s ‘Six of Crows’ (midway through Section 3: Heartbreak). This part goes heavily into the backstory of the Dregs’ members, how they came into the lives they chose to live. I love how it shows the human side of all of these characters. Way before their notorious reputations were cemented, they were small children forced into indentured servitude, or living a life of intense gambling. Fate also brought bitter enemies together, forcing them to ignore their biases in each other in order to survive and adapt. (The parts involving the history of Nina and Matthias were very intriguing). I definitely notice that Bardugo’s writing style is quite different from the Grisha series. Her female characters in Six of Crows are feminine and fierce, which is quite refreshing to read. Perhaps I’ll be able to finish this story by mid-week.

March 2, 2019: My March TBR List

March has definitely began somewhat dramatic, yet reading is always my escape, my relaxation from the craziness. For this month, I have a blend of stories I borrowed from the library and books I own, and I enjoy that! As much as I love having books of my very own, I love frequenting my local library. I use it for curriculum material, and browsing books for personal interest.

This month, I have five books in my TBR list. One of them is a Book of the Month selection, one is a Barnes and Noble purchase, and three are from the library.

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Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Henry Holt and Company

I began reading Six of Crows during the last week of February, wanting to finish this novel by the 28, but it didn’t work out that way. Not because I’m not enjoying it (it’s a good story!), life just has a way of pausing interests. I’m all ready to get back into the book. Six of Crows is a continuation of the Grisha universe that Bardugo introduced during the Grishaverse trilogy. The story takes place in Ketterdam, following Kaz Brekker and a gang of outcasts as they attempt to pull off a heist of incredibly high risk.

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Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero
Doubleday Books

I first came across Meddling Kids a year ago, and I was immediately intrigued by it. It’s a tale that honors the Scooby Gang we all know and love as children, except they are now older, and handling personal traumas of their own. I’ve wanted to pick it up and read it for the longer time…finally about a week ago, I picked it up at my local library. I’m looking forward to reading it soon!

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The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Balzar and Bray

The Hate U Give follows Starr Carter as she handles the aftermath of the death of her best friend Khalil, who was shot dead by police. The cast reaches notional headlines, and only Starr is the sole witness of the crime. This story confronts the issues of racism and brutality in modern day America. This is Angie Thomas’s breakout debut novel, and her second book, On The Come Up, immediately became a national bestseller since its debut the beginning of February. I feel like I’m one of the few people who have yet to read The Hate U Give, so I’m really going to tackle that this month!

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Minion by L.A. Banks (Vampire Huntress Book 1)
Macmillian Books

Minion follows the story of Damali Richards, a spoken word artist who doubles as a vampire slayer. Damali and her guardians are on a mission in seeking out an entity murdering her fellow group members and their rival label. This story came out around 2003, and I only got part of the way at that time before putting it down (why I did that, no clue, since I love slayer stories!). Luckily, this story was in my library as well, so I get to enjoy awesome reading material that involves powerful women!

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Small Country by Gael Faye
Hogarth

Small Country is my Book of the Month selection from a few months earlier. It follows the story of Gael living through the heartbreak of war and genocide. This story was widely renowned in 2018 for its poignancy and brutal truths. This novel was sitting on my shelf for quite some time, and its another story that I intend on reading this month.

February 28, 2019: My Feb. Wrap-Up

I’m happy to say that read four books this month! While it’s one book short from January, I’m reading more than I did a year earlier, and I’m very happy about that!

One of the books was categorized as adult, the rest were YA. One of these novels was a NetGalley ARC.

The Oyster Thief by Sonia Faruqi

I gave this story 5 stars. I absolutely loved this book! It’s an underwater tale centering around a mermaid on a quest to save her brother poisoned from an oil spill. She meets a merman while on her adventure , with a hidden agenda of his own. I enjoyed Sonia Faruqi’s description of her underwater world, and the merpeople community’s way of life. I can wait to see what Faruqi writes next!

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Ever Alice by H.J. Ramsay

I gave Ever Alice 3 1/2 stars. This book is an ARC I received from NetGalley. The format for this novel was a bit frustrating to read, but I managed to complete reading it in a couple days. I loved that it was a re-telling of Alice in Wonderland, set in the 19th century. There were a couple of gory scenes in this story that made this book quite interesting. I also loved reading about Alice’s return to Wonderland.

Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

I gave this novel 4 stars. I heard many mixed reviews about this story, but I really liked this final installment of the Grisha trilogy. It follows Alina on her quest for third amplifier while Ravka is on the brink of sheer chaos. It was fulfilling to follow Alina and her crew through foreign lands, all while avoiding the Darkling and his minions.

A Blade So Black by L.L. McKinney

I gave this book 5 stars. This story was a modern day retelling of Alice in Wonderland. I truly loved how Alice is a fighter in this version, battling Nightmares while journeying through a Wonderland dangerous at night. The ending brings on quite a surprise. I’m very much looking forward to the second book of this world, which comes out in September!

I wanted Six of Crows to be my fifth novel, but I’m at the halfway point in the story. It’s just getting interesting!

Professional Reader

‘Siege and Storm’ by Leigh Bardugo/A Review

**This review contains spoilers**

I appreciated ‘Siege and Storm’ a bit more than ‘Shadow and Bone’. This installment in the Grisha series heavily ventures into military strategy and royal influence as Alina fights to defeat the Darkling and restore peace to Ravka. Alina generates a following among commoners and Grisha alike, as many see her as the ‘Sun Saint’ who will bring an end to chaos. I appreciated viewing Alina’s friendship with Nikolai, as he uses his power of royalty to school her in military etiquette, as well as navigating diplomacy.

What I didn’t appreciate was the fact that Alina’s communication with Mal constantly led to lovers’ quarreling. Both characters have passionate feelings toward each other, yet Alina allowed her emotional bond with the Darkling interfere with restoring honesty in her relationship with Mal.

I absolutely enjoyed the final battle scene in the book. It contained just the right elements of action and shocking revelations.

My rating: 3.5/5 stars

Professional Reader

My TBR list for January

Now that 2019 is underway, I want to share my TBR list for the remainder of January. While I know that half of the month is now gone, I would still love to share what I want to take on after I finish ‘Shadow and Bone’. Since it appears that we’re going to be snowed in this weekend, I’ll have plenty of time to enjoy my books!

I only have two books listed in my TBR pile for this month:

Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo 

This is book #2 in the Grisha trilogy. Since these books are going to be adapted into a series on Netflix, I wanted to read the books to have an idea of what the characters were all about. From what I understand, only the first book of the trilogy is going to be adapted, but I still want to read all three books anyway.

  The Oyster Thief by Sonia Faruqi 

‘The Oyster Thief’ is an underwater tale that centers around a valuable ocean ecosystem. I placed a request for this book at my local library earlier this month, as they didn’t have the novel available. I’m looking forward to receiving the notification that the Faruqi’s book is finally in.

Professional Reader

Reading ‘Shadow and Bone’ by Leigh Bardugo

I began reading ‘Shadow and Bone’ by Leigh Bardugo over the weekend. I’ve been hearing all about this story and ‘Six of Crows’ being picked up for a Netflix series, and so many people have been expressing their excitement over this news. Since I have yet to read Bardugo’s Grishaverse series, I decided to pick up Shadow and Bone at the library.

I’m about a quarter of the way in, and so far I’m liking what I’m reading. I enjoy the ‘magical training school’ plot line…along the lines of Harry Potter, yet the trainees are older. The main character is certainly enduring a life altering experience. I hope to get in more reading by the end of the evening. My work schedule complicates things!

‘City of Ghosts’ by Victoria Schwab/A Review

‘City of Ghosts’ by Victoria Schwab is a paranormal tale with adventure, told through the eyes of a girl blessed with the gift of communicating with spirits. This story follows Cassidy Blake, an 12 year old girl with the gift of crossing over to the world of the dead, called the Veil. She is able to travel to this world after a near death experience a year earlier. Cassidy travels to Edinburgh, Scotland with her parents, ‘paranormal experts’ in writing (yet they have little awareness of ghosts) who film a show called ‘The Inspecters’ based on their successful books on ghost phenomenon. As her parents venture into popular, ‘spooky’ tourist sites within Edinburgh, Cassidy embarks on her own adventure through the Veil with Jacob, her close friend (and ghost). It is through these excursions that Cassidy becomes enlightened about her gift, and discovers some shocking surprises along the way.

     ‘City of Ghosts’ is a Middle Grade novel, and I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this story. I do love reading paranormal stories, and this story pushed my interest.  I also appreciated the fact that this book felt like an ‘older’ book in many aspects. The scenes where Cassidy gets better attuned with venturing into the Veil pulled at my heartstrings. She holds a strong connection with the spirit world, and it was fulfilling to witness Cassidy’s journey as she discovers their strengths and weaknesses. This leads to a marked piece of advice from Lara, a girl Cassidy meets in Scotland (who holds a special gift of her own): ‘We’re meant to cross (the Veil), because we have a job to do on the other side’. It was also refreshing to see Cassidy have a genuine platonic relationship with Jacob, who serves as her loyal companion along her adventure through Scotland. Their paranormal discoveries in Edinburgh lead to the beginning of a deeper awareness in Cassidy’s gift.

     I hope to see more of Cassidy’s growth in her abilities as she travels to other destinations with her family. It will be interesting to see hers (and Jacob’s) character development as the months move forward in her journey.  

Rating: 4/5