Review: The Mermaid by Christina Henry

themermaidThe Mermaid by Christina Henry

My Rating: 5/5 TARDISes

Series: Standalone

Date Published: June 19th, 2018

Publisher: Berkley

Pages: 336 pages

Source: Publisher

Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

Synopsis: From the author of Lost Boy comes a historical fairy tale about a mermaid who leaves the sea for love and later finds herself in P.T. Barnum’s American Museum as the real Fiji mermaid. However, leaving the museum may be harder than leaving the sea ever was.

Once there was a mermaid who longed to know of more than her ocean home and her people. One day a fisherman trapped her in his net but couldn’t bear to keep her. But his eyes were lonely and caught her more surely than the net, and so she evoked a magic that allowed her to walk upon the shore. The mermaid, Amelia, became his wife, and they lived on a cliff above the ocean for ever so many years, until one day the fisherman rowed out to sea and did not return.

P.T. Barnum was looking for marvelous attractions for his American Museum, and he’d heard a rumor of a mermaid who lived on a cliff by the sea. He wanted to make his fortune, and an attraction like Amelia was just the ticket.

Amelia agreed to play the mermaid for Barnum, and she believes she can leave any time she likes. But Barnum has never given up a money-making scheme in his life, and he’s determined to hold on to his mermaid.

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*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

This is a spoiler-free review.

The Mermaid is yet another beautiful novel from one of my favorite authors. After first hearing about it, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I, like many other readers, immediately thought we would be getting a retelling of The Little Mermaid in typical Christina Henry fashion. It surprised me to see that this novel would be a historical fiction tale with fantasy mixed in—but, whatever the story, I was here for it. Going in, I knew I would enjoy it, but it surpassed all of my expectations. It is a different style of story than Henry’s most recent works, but it retains all of the raw emotion, vivid backdrops and memorable characters, and that undercurrent of magic that becomes almost tangible.

In this novel, we watch the life of a mermaid named Amelia unfold—as she finds her freedom and her place in the human world. This journey begins when a fisherman accidently catches her in his net. He could not bear to keep her, so he set her free. But Amelia does not forget glimpsing the deep loneliness in his eyes.  She realizes she could not stand letting him remain alone, so she found her escape from life in the ocean and transformed into a woman. And so the pair led a beautiful and happy married life together, until the fisherman was lost at sea.

Meanwhile, P.T. Barnum is looking for his next big exhibit to astound the public with, and he is determined to have it feature a mermaid. When he hears tales of a supposed mermaid living on a cliff by the sea, he is eager to find her. In his eyes, she is the exhibit that will ensure his riches and success. Though he agrees to Amelia’s terms—that she should be free to leave whenever she wishes—he doesn’t intend to keep his promise. There is no way he is going to let his most valuable treasure walk away.

I absolutely adored that this tale was based on historical events—events which I knew very little about prior to reading this. Being able to research P.T. Barnum and his American Museum on the side made my experience with the novel even more enthralling. The way that Henry so fluidly weaves magic into the lives that were real, the places that existed, is beyond brilliant and incredibly enchanting. I have never read a novel quite like this one, and Henry has the perfect style and voice to truly bring something like this to life.

I could talk for ages about Henry’s writing style in itself. Her words flow seamlessly, taking the reader over the pages with ease and leaving them not wanting to let go. The way she builds the settings so vividly and creates the tone and atmosphere with such strength pulls you right in—the sounds, the smells, the intensity of the emotion travel along with you. Her words transfer you into an entirely new place, one that is unique, yet comfortably familiar. I always feel so invested in her characters’ lives, and like I am such a part of their world. And this is how a bit of extra magic is created for us as readers.

There are important messages threaded throughout the events of the narrative as well. Amelia is a strong woman, and she is determined to be independent, no matter what anyone else says. From the very first time we meet her, she is searching for her freedom, and once she has it, she keeps it and holds her own. She doesn’t care what people think or about conforming to the pressures that society puts on women—it is unfamiliar to her, and she will not let her mind be changed by it. Due to being brought up and learning to be a woman under much different circumstances, Amelia has a remarkable insight into the importance of unapologetically being yourself and living the life that is healthiest for you.

As I said before, this novel was everything I wanted and so much more. The multi-dimensional narrative is a joy to get lost in. It is bitter and sweet, heartwarming and heartbreaking, aching with loneliness, longing, and love. This is a beautifully crafted work that will have you spellbound. I cannot recommend this book highly enough for everyone, but especially for those who love to get swept up in a fantastical yet thought-provoking tale.

5.0 TARDISes

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Review: Heartseeker by Melinda Beatty

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33344380Heartseeker by Melinda Beatty

My Rating: 5/5 TARDISes

Series: The Heartseeker Series

Date Published: June 5th, 2018

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

Pages: 336 pages

Source: Publisher

Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

Synopsis: A vibrant fantasy-adventure debut about a girl who can see lies.

You’re a Fallow of the Orchard. You’re as tough as a green apple in summer . . . 

Only Fallow was just six harvests old when she realized that not everyone sees lies. For Only, seeing lies is as beautiful as looking through a kaleidoscope, but telling them is as painful as gnawing on cut glass. Only’s family warns her to keep her cunning hidden, but secrets are seldom content to stay secret. 

When word of Only’s ability makes its way to the King, she’s plucked from her home at the orchard and brought to the castle at Bellskeep. There she learns that the kingdom is plagued by traitors, and that her task is to help the King distinguish between friend and foe. But being able to see lies doesn’t necessarily mean that others aren’t able to disguise their dishonesty with cunnings of their own.

In the duplicitous, power-hungry court, the truth is Only’s greatest weapon . . . and her greatest weakness.

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*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

This is a spoiler-free review.

Heartseeker is one of those novels that makes me even more glad that I am given the opportunity to read and review books, especially those for younger audiences. Reading has always been such an important part of my life ever since I was a kid, and it is something that has led me to find my other biggest passion of writing. I get such joy out of encouraging people of any age to read, and discovering a middle grade gem like this that I can so highly recommend is always wonderful. This novel reminds me of the fantasy stories I adored when I was younger, that piqued my imagination and creativity and solidified my love of reading. It is a beautiful tale full of love, magic, and strength that will captivate readers of any age.

In this novel, we follow a young girl named Only Fallow, who has the ability to see lies. When people lie, she sees them ringed in a whole variety of colors, each connected to the type of lie and intentions of the person. However, this power comes with the curse of not being able to tell a lie without experiencing physical pain. As magic, or “cunning”, is not accepted among her people, she is forced to keep these things a secret—but sometimes secrets have a life of their own.

When Only’s powers are discovered by the King, he takes her from her home to live and work in his castle at Bellskeep. The King’s intentions are to have her assist him in determining deceit among those of his kingdom, as there are many traitors about. But this plan is not foolproof, as the potential cunning of others is not taken into account. Now, Only must navigate her new circumstances, where her greatest power can also be her greatest weakness.

This is such a unique and interesting story that I found myself immediately swept up into. The idea of seeing lies as colors—as well as the meanings given to each one—is not only an inventive way to portray this power, it is also truly and utterly magical. Readers are given the chance to fall into a vibrant world and an epic adventure that captures and carries the imagination into new realms. As a whole, this narrative is something that I believe will spark the creativity of all of its readers—I know it definitely did that for me.

Beatty has crafted every component of this novel beautifully. Her writing is incredibly easy to get caught up in, and fluidly carries the reader over the pages. The style in which she writes is very distinctive and fitting for the setting—this adds further dimension to the novel as a whole. The world is carefully constructed and vividly described. It unfolds and builds up around you as you fall into Only’s life. Beatty’s writing breathes life into her narrative and fully immerses the reader in every aspect of the story.

Only is an incredibly strong heroine. She is brave, intelligent, and extremely loyal—a very admirable female lead. Beatty does a great job of filling out her character, taking the time to really build her a three-dimensional personality. I had a quick and easy time connecting with her and coming to love her. The characterization as a whole is very solid, as Beatty fills this work with a cast of memorable characters. My particular favorites were Non, Jon, and Gareth. The relationships between everyone in this novel are very well-portrayed, and everyone plays a massive role in driving the narrative.

I thoroughly enjoyed getting lost in this heartwarming and exciting adventure, and was very reluctant to leave. The escapades of these characters continue to replay in my mind, and will surely stay with me for a long time. It is a story that I can see being universally accessible among readers of all ages. Heartseeker is a charming and wholesome read that I would highly encourage younger readers to pick up, and that I would recommend to everyone in general.

5.0 TARDISes

Author Bio:

16179801Melinda Beatty has had years of practice trying to explain to others why she was just having an imaginary conversation between two people that don’t exist, so becoming a writer seemed like the best way to stop everyone looking at her funny. After years of narrowboat living on the English canals, she and her British husband are now back on dry land in Maryland where by day, she’s a mild-mannered Indie bookseller, and by night, she wrangles words, craft projects, a Labrador and two fierce mini-women. Heartseeker is her debut novel.

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HEARTSEEKER BLOG TOUR

WEEK ONE

May 28 – @Book_Ventures – Book Asethetics

May 29 – RhythmicBooktrovert – Review

May 30 – GladiatorGlory – Review + Playlist + Moodboard

May 31 – The Quirky Book Nerd – Review 

June 1 – Bookopolis – Great Adventure Heroines in contemporary and classic books

Review: The Boy from Tomorrow by Camille DeAngelis

theboyfromtomorrowThe Boy from Tomorrow by Camille DeAngelis

My Rating: 4/5 TARDISes

Series: Standalone

Date Published: May 8th, 2018

Publisher: Amberjack Publishing

Pages: 268 pages

Source: Netgalley

Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

Synopsis: Josie and Alec both live at 444 Sparrow Street. They sleep in the same room, but they’ve never laid eyes on each other. They are twelve years old but a hundred years apart.

The children meet through a handpainted spirit board—Josie in 1915, Alec in 2015—and form a friendship across the century that separates them. But a chain of events leave Josie and her little sister Cass trapped in the house and afraid for their safety, and Alec must find out what’s going to happen to them. Can he help them change their future when it’s already past? 

The Boy from Tomorrow is a tribute to classic English fantasy novels like Tom’s Midnight Garden and A Traveller in Time. Through their impossible friendship, Alec and Josie learn that life can offer only what they ask of it.

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*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

This is a spoiler-free review.

Ever since I finished reading this novel, I have been searching for the right words to describe it—words that encompass every topic, every emotion, in the best way possible. Words like “charming”, “adorable”, and “sweet” are fitting to certain aspects, but somehow still feel wrong. However, darker words do not have a place here either, just as the characters do not allow darkness to remain in their lives. This is a novel of an endearing and vital friendship that defies the most impossible of circumstances. Of a life-changing connection bridging a century’s distance. To really pinpoint those words that I need, let’s dive into the story itself.

In this novel, we follow the lives of two young children—Josie and Alec—and their blossoming friendship. They both live in the same room of the same house on Sparrow Street. The twist? Josie is living in 1915, while Alec is in 2015. The pair meet across this one-hundred-year gap through the use of a hand painted spirit board belonging to Josie’s mother—who works as a psychic—and left in the house for Alec to find.

The two, along with Josie’s sister Cassie and their tutor Emily, form a deep connection, one that they rely on to cope with the difficult circumstances they are all in. However, the safety of Josie and her little sister is torn apart as events on their side quickly escalate to dangerous and life-threatening. Learning of this, Alec realizes he must do everything he possibly can to help bring them to safety and protect these people he has come to love.

I thought the main characters were very well portrayed, and were very much the driving force of the narrative. Josie, Alec, Cassie, and Emily are beautiful and utterly lovable. It is impossible not to get swept up into their lives, to feel every emotion they feel, and root for them all the way. We are given much insight into their points-of view, an intimate look at their situations, and a detailed depiction of their personalities. The three-dimensional quality of these characters magnifies the realism, connects the reader on a personal level, and sets a solid base for a powerful story.

There is a bit lacking when it comes to many of the side characters, however. Though some of them play very important roles in the plot, they still remain fairly two-dimensional. We never get to see particularly far into their stories, which I think would have expanded and deepened the plot further—it would have made the message of the novel even more poignant.

While I had a few issues with Camille DeAngelis’ writing, overall, I do believe it fits the narrative and the book’s target age range pretty well. Her writing style is easy to fall into and her words flow nicely at a reasonable pace. DeAngelis is very descriptive, in terms of both physical and emotional details. The tone and atmosphere of every scene is very vivid, pulling the reader deeper into the lives and struggles of her lovable characters. It is easy to feel the wonder of the children, the joy and excitement of their friendship, the fear and pain in the darkest moments.

She also does a great job of switching between the two sides of the story, alternating between Josie’s and Alec’s stories every chapter. Her transitions over the space of a century are seamless. DeAngelis builds both children’s worlds skillfully, including plenty of historically accurate details that bring even more dimension into the setting. On top of that, she creates her own historical elements, centering around Josie and her family. I absolutely loved that she included this—it is such an interesting addition to the plot.

I only have a few issues with aspects of this novel. The biggest one is the style of writing within the chapters themselves. It felt as though every event, every day, completely ran together due to a lack of placing breaks between these parts. The fact that the narrative jumped around so much with absolutely no warning made things feel a bit jarring and choppy. This is something that could potentially make the story difficult for readers to follow.

The only other minor complaint I have is with the backgrounds of Josie and Alec. I feel like we are given very little insight into other parts of their lives. For instance, I would have liked to see some of the side characters, such as their parents, fleshed out a bit more. There is so much that is just hinted at, particularly on Alec’s side, and it left me feeling a bit unsatisfied. It is as if these aspects are multiple loose ends that were never tied up.

So, as we come back around to the beginning of this review, I feel as though I have a bit more clarity. Heartwarming. At its roots, this is a depiction of two lost souls finding one another. Bittersweet. This is a story of a beautiful friendship, but it is not by any means purely fluff. It deals with some heavy and incredibly important topics—DeAngelis does not shy away from showing the horrific and heart-wrenching aspects of neglect and abuse. Family. Family is not made up solely of those related to you by blood. Family is made up of those who make you feel whole, who love you deeply, who protect and always support you. And above all—this novel is unreservedly powerful.

4.0 TARDISes

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Down the TBR Hole #5

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Hey guys! I’m so sorry for the spotty posting and comment replying over the last week or two. I haven’t been feeling very well and that’s put me in a bit of an everything slump. But I’m pushing through it and trying to get things back to normal as soon as possible!

And I promise, I will be getting caught up on tags and replying to your comments very soon as well! You guys have been leaving the most wonderful comments that have completely warmed my heart—thank you all so much for your love and support! ❤

This was created by Lia from Lost in a Story. I’m going to attempt to do this post every week as the rules say, but since I have such a massive TBR, I’m going to be picking out 20 books instead of 10. So, let’s see how this goes!

The Rules:

Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
Order on ascending date added.
Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
Read the synopses of the books
Decide: keep it or should it go?
Keep track of where you left off so you can pick up there next week!

Current “To Read” Shelf: 1440

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huntinglilaHunting Lila by Sarah Alderson

I’ve had this on my Kindle for a really long time. This isn’t my typical type of story because I believe it is at least part romance novel, but the mystery aspect of it still has me intrigued and seems like the primary focus. So I am totally still up for giving this one a try.

Judgment: KEEP

thenightcircusThe Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

I am definitely keeping this one—in fact, it’s a priority on my reading list for the year. I started it a few times, but I was always too busy to sit down and give it the time it deserves. I’m hoping I’ll be able to do that this year, potentially this summer!

Judgment: KEEP

sliceofcherrySlice of Cherry by Dia Reeves

Okay, so this one apparently appealed to me at one point, but now it sounds incredibly weird and honestly really disgusting. I mean, I do absolutely love both reading and writing creepy, dark, twisted thriller stories, but this one seems a little much, even for me. And I am also now concerned about my younger self… 😛

Judgment: GO

happyfaceHappyface by Stephen Emond

I feel a bit bad taking this off my list because it does sound like a sweet and funny story. However, I’m trying to really be hard on myself about eliminating books I’m probably never going to get around to and, unfortunately, this is realistically one of them.

Judgment: GO

chokerChoker by Elizabeth Woods

I’m feeling a bit torn over this one. This is a book I’ve had on my Kindle for years but have never gotten around to. The mystery aspect of the plot is still really intriguing to me, but the rest of it sounds like something I would have preferred as a teenager. I’ve decided to remove it from my TBR for now since I don’t think I will be picking it up any time soon, but it is on my Kindle in case I change my mind at any point.

Judgment: GO

theknifeofneverlettinggoThe Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

I found this through Goodreads/Booktube ages ago, but I ended up picking up A Monster Calls as my first Patrick Ness book (which is now one of my all-time favorite novels!). After reading that, I proceeded to have a Patrick Ness book buying attack and bought the entire Chaos Walking trilogy. Basically yes, this is definitely staying!

Judgment: KEEP

thisgorgeousgameThis Gorgeous Game by Donna Freitas

Nope, no…too creepy. I don’t actually remember putting this on my list either.

Judgment: GO

getwellsoonGet Well Soon by Julie Halpern

My initial reason for removing this was the fact that, these days, I’m often avoiding books that focus solely on mental health due to my own current situation. I’m just not in a place where I feel comfortable reading too many books on the topic. However, usually I would just put this aside until I feel better. But upon perusing the Goodreads page, I found out all about how this author has attacked reviewers who have expressed any negative opinions…so no, I’m not even going to consider this in the future.

Judgment: GO

afterAfter by Amy Efaw

Clearly, we’re still in the early stages of my TBR, so this is another old addition. I’ve heard a lot of wonderful things about this novel and I think it may have been one I discovered through my Goodreads friends. For some reason, though, I’ve lost interest in it. It definitely gives me that “I would have loved this when I was a teenager” vibe.

Judgment: GO

themockingbirdsThe Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney

Again, another really old addition, and again, one that I have heard many good things about. This is one that I was really eager to read at one time, but (sorry for being repetitive!) I just don’t feel motivated to pick it up anymore. I will keep it in mind though, in case my feelings change in the future.

Judgment: GO

leavingparadiseLeaving Paradise by Simone Elkeles

I remember hearing so much about this book back when it came out—everyone I knew loved it. But taking a look at it now, it’s really not something that I’m particularly interested in anymore. This is one of those contemporary romance novels that seems like it would be a bit darker and thought-provoking, which is typically the only type that appeals to me. But I just think, realistically, I’m not going to be picking this up.

Judgment: GO

lessonsfromadeadgirlLessons from a Dead Girl by Jo Knowles

I will save you from my repetitive ramblings with this one and just say: I might have read this as a teenager. Which I am not. 😛

Judgment: GO

beautifulBeautiful by Amy Reed

Okay, so this might not be a “forever removal”, but I’m taking it out for the time being. I read one novel by Amy Reed years ago and enjoyed it, so I would like to read more of her work. However, between the fact that I’m being cautious with mental health related novels at the moment and the fact that I’m not nearly as eager to read it as I used to be, I’m putting it aside.

Judgment: GO

annadressedinbloodAnna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

Don’t let the position on my TBR fool you—I am insanely excited to read this book! I’ve been wanting to read this for so long and I finally bought a couple a little while ago. …Okay, maybe by “a little while ago” I mean over a year ago…but still! Definitely picking it up soon! 😀

Judgment: KEEP

theinvisiblemanThe Invisible Man by H.G. Wells

Another definite keeper! One of the top priority novels on my classics TBR. So excited to read this one!

Judgment: KEEP

augustagoneAugusta, Gone: A True Story by Martha Tod Dudman

And this is where I have to own up to my Lifetime movie addiction. The majority of the movies I like to watch are…how should I put this…unintentionally hilarious. However, many of their movies that are based off of true stories are actually not bad. One that I really enjoyed was based off of this novel, and I thought it would be interesting to read it. I’ve had it sitting on my TBR for ages, but it’s something I can still see myself picking up at some point.

Judgment: KEEP

atreegrowsinbrooklynA Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

This is another novel that’s on my classics TBR, and it’s a definite keeper. I think this may have been on reading lists at school, but I always ended up picking other books. Then a few years ago, a bunch of people started recommending it to me and a good friend of mine got me a copy. It sounds like a wonderful story, and I’m excited to check it out and see what they all love about it!

Judgment: KEEP

madamebovaryMadame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

Again, yet another novel on my classics TBR—so pretty much an automatic keeper! We never did a full read of this novel in school, but we did read excerpts from it in my AP Lit & Comp class. And I really loved all the passages that we studied, so I quickly added it to my TBR. I’m trying to start reading some more classics as I’ve kind of slacked off a bit lately, so this is a priority on that list.

Judgment: KEEP

youagainstmeYou Against Me by Jenny Downham

Again, trying to be pretty strict and realistic when it comes to cutting down my TBR, and this one is unfortunately leaving. This novel has some great reviews and I was very interested in it when I first discovered it. But then it just sat there for years and, being honest with myself, I’ve lost too much of my eagerness to read it. It’s just very unlikely that I’m going to pick this up at any point.

Judgment: GO

thedisreputablehistoryoffrankielandaubanksThe Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart

The first and only E. Lockhart book I’ve ever read is We Were Liars, which I read back when it first came out. I know that opinions on that novel are very polarizing, and I ended up being one of the readers that really loved it. Ever since then, I’ve been wanting to pick up another one of her novels and this is the one that has been recommended to me the most. I’m definitely going to read this at some point.

Judgment: KEEP

Getting Rid Of: 11/20

TBR Total: 1429

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Down the TBR Hole #4

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This was created by Lia from Lost in a Story. I’m going to attempt to do this post every week as the rules say, but since I have such a massive TBR, I’m going to be picking out 20 books instead of 10. So, let’s see how this goes!

The Rules:

Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
Order on ascending date added.
Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
Read the synopses of the books
Decide: keep it or should it go?
Keep track of where you left off so you can pick up there next week!

Current “To Read” Shelf: 1434

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theunbecomingofmaradyerThe Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

I remember how insanely excited I was for this novel when it was first released, and yet, somehow it’s still on my TBR. Since then, I’ve heard a ton of mixed things about this series as a whole. However, I’m still interested in at least trying it out to see what I think.

Judgment: KEEP

breathlessBreathless by Jessica Warman

I found this at the library one summer and, while I didn’t check it out at the time, I added it to my Goodreads TBR. And though there are some interesting elements to it still, I’ve lost most of my enthusiasm to read it at this point.

Judgment: GO

theredpyramidThe Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan

This is a definite keeper. Any of Rick Riordan’s books that I haven’t read yet are automatic keepers!

Judgment: KEEP

stayStay by Deb Caletti

Since we are still in the early stages of my TBR, and since I’ve been on Goodreads for quite a while, we’re going to be running into a lot of books I added so long ago that I’ve just lost interest. And this is one of them! I read a number of Deb Caletti’s novels when I was in my early teens and really enjoyed them—however, they don’t appeal to me now like they use to.

Judgment: GO

amyandrogersepicdetourAmy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

This is totally not my typical type of novel, but it honestly sounds really sweet and fun. I’ve always heard nothing but fantastic things about Morgan Matson’s books—this one in particular—and I figure I should give it a try. I’ve been trying to add some more lighthearted reads into my TBR to break things up a bit lately anyway.

Judgment: KEEP

betweenshadesofgrayBetween Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Yes, yes, yes! Definitely staying on the list. I am so eager to check out Ruta Sepetys work, particularly this novel. I know it’s going to destroy my heart, but I’m totally up for it!

Judgment: KEEP

missperegrineshomeforpeculiarchildrenMiss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Keeping for sure! I’ve started this novel multiple times, but I always end up getting distracted by something else because adulting always seems to interfere with my reading schedule! So I am determined to get to this and the rest of the trilogy as soon as possible.

Judgment: KEEP

theclockwisemanDoctor Who: The Clockwise Man by Justin Richards

I’m definitely keeping this for now. I’ve been having the most difficult time trying to find copies of many of the early novels in this series, so I have no idea when I’ll actually be able to get around to this. But I’m hoping I can find it one day!

Judgment: KEEP

thehelpThe Help by Kathryn Stockett

Here’s another book that I can’t believe I still haven’t gotten around to reading. This was originally recommended to me by my grandma, who absolutely loved it. We watched the movie together when it came out and I loved that, so I definitely want to read this sometime soon!

Judgment: KEEP

agameofthronesillustratedA Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

Another definite keeper! I need to get started on this series, so I’m hoping I can read at least this first novel this year. I’m thinking this might be fun to read at the beach this summer.

Judgment: KEEP

stolenStolen: A Letter to My Captor by Lucy Christopher

I got this novel so long ago, I actually thought that this would be another I had lost interest in. But honestly, I really don’t think I have. Plus, I’ve always heard nothing but good things about it. I’m pretty sure I still want to give this one a read.

Judgment: KEEP

thefaultinourstarsThe Fault in Our Stars by John Green

I think I’ve made this confession before but, I have never read a John Green novel, at least not all the way through. Years ago, I started one of his novels and just could not get into it. However, I do still want to give him a try and, in this case, I am willing to give into the hype to read this particular book. Not sure how I’ll feel about it (and I’ve already been spoiled on most of it), but we’ll see!

Judgment: KEEP

confessionsofthesullivansistersConfessions of the Sullivan Sisters by Natalie Standiford

I have to be honest, I’m not entirely sure why I ever thought this would be my type of book…but yeah, it’s really not.

Judgment: GO

themazerunnerThe Maze Runner by James Dashner

Okay, so I’m a bit iffy on this one. I’ve wanted to read it for so long now, but I’ve recently been hesitant due to hearing a fair amount of negative feedback about the series as a whole. For now, though, I still have enough of an interest that I’m willing to give things a try and see how it goes.

Judgment: KEEP

lifeasweknewitLife As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer

I think I found this novel because a bunch of my friends were talking about it back when it came out. I’ve also always been a bit of a dystopian addict. However, I’m just not feeling it anymore with this book. I’ll keep it in mind, but for now, I’m removing it.

Judgment: GO

newesfromthedeadNewes from the Dead by Mary Hooper

Yes, definitely keeping this one! It’s based off a true story, I believe, which means I am probably going to get majorly creeped out, but I’m intrigued!

Judgment: KEEP

acrosstheuniverseAcross the Universe by Beth Revis

I have become a bit less interested in this novel over the last few years, but reading some of my Goodreads friends reviews of it has actually piqued my interest again. I’m thinking I’ll probably give this one a go.

Judgment: KEEP

bruiserBruiser by Neal Shusterman

I had a really hard time making up my mind about this one. I have read a few of Neal Shusterman’s novels and I have more I want to pick up, so it seems a bit weird to take this one off. It still sounds like a good story, but I just don’t think it’s for me anymore.

Judgment: GO

numbersNumbers by Rachel Ward

This is another one I am a bit conflicted over. I remember, years ago, hearing people talking about this novel all the time, so I figured I should check it out. Some aspects of the plot still sound interesting, but I don’t feel a huge amount of enthusiasm about picking this up. I’ll keep it on for now though.

Judgment: KEEP

wanttogoprivateWant to Go Private? by Sarah Darer Littman

And lastly, this one is a keeper as well. It’s an old discovery, but it still sounds equally as interesting as it did when I first found it.

Judgment: KEEP

Getting Rid Of: 5/20

TBR Total: 1429

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Reviews: The Heart is Improvisational by Various and Depression & Other Magic Tricks by Sabrina Benaim

theheartisimprovisationalThe Heart is Improvisational by Various

My Rating: 3/5 TARDISes

Series: Standalone

Date Published: September 1st, 2017

Publisher: Guernica Editions

Pages: 130 pages

Source: Netgalley

Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

Synopsis: Poets attribute an array of roles and capacities to the involuntary muscle. The heart becomes a repository of erotic and familial love, and a sanctuary for memory. The poets explore the flux of the heart’s responses and instigations: the heart’s tender overtures, its joyous pulse, its mating call for the other, its changeable temperament, its final tick in freeze-frame. Among the poets featured: Kenneth Sherman, Lorna Crozier, Marilyn Bowering, Roo Borson, Patrick Lane, Charles Bukowski, Eugénio de Andrade, John Barton, Robyn Sarah, and Mary di Michele.

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*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

This is a poetry collection featuring works from a wide variety of authors, all giving their unique perspectives on the most important part of human life—the heart. It was an extremely hit or miss collection for me, and I found it very hard to get into. In general, I tended to prefer the poems that focused on the less tangible, more emotional views of the heart, rather than the technical and clinical depictions. To me, the poems that spoke from essentially a medical perspective felt like reading a biology textbook—albeit a lyrical one—rather than a poetry collection.

All of the writers who contributed are extremely talented; all of the writing was strong and skilled. In my opinion, however, the flow of the writing—both individually and as a whole—was definitely broken up by the ones that focused more on fact than feeling. Of course, not all poetry needs to be abstract and romantic. The freedom to be whatever the writer wants it to be is one of the reasons why this is such a wonderful vehicle for creativity and expression. But for me, I think I just prefer poems that creatively expand on the emotional rather than the physical.

3.0 TARDISes

depressionandothermagictricksDepression & Other Magic Tricks by Sabrina Benaim

My Rating: 3/5 TARDISes

Series: Standalone

Date Published: August 22nd, 2017

Publisher: Button Poetry

Pages: 80 pages

Source: Netgalley

Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

Synopsis: Depression & Other Magic Tricks is the debut book by Sabrina Benaim, one of the most-viewed performance poets of all time, whose poem “Explaining My Depression to My Mother” has become a cultural phenomenon with over 5,000,000 views.

Depression & Other Magic Tricks explores themes of mental health, love, and family. It is a documentation of struggle and triumph, a celebration of daily life and of living. Benaim’s wit, empathy, and gift for language produce a work of endless wonder.

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*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

This collection was all right, but I found it to be just a bit disappointing. I had heard a little bit about Sabrina Benaim prior to picking this up, so I was quite eager to experience her work. However, though I did enjoy it to some extent, this collection wasn’t quite as good I was expecting it to be. The poems themselves were quality—Benaim has quite a talent for expressing herself in a vivid way, and speaks intelligently on many subjects that can be difficult to fully comprehend. However, while I did enjoy this collection, it did not click with me in the way I would have liked. Her writing style did not flow overly well for me so I never quite got fully into it.

I thought Benaim’s way of tapping into and clearly conveying her feelings was very good, and it was easy to connect to her and feel her emotions on a deep level. Despite my feelings on the collection overall, I could definitely see how raw and poignant her words were. These poems deal with many of Benaim’s personal experiences in her life so far, and sheds some light on her experience with depression—a great way to help open minds on the subject of mental illness. I wish I had enjoyed it a bit more, but overall, I think this is a beautiful collection that many readers will love and relate to.

3.0 TARDISes

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Down the TBR Hole #3

downthetbrhole

This was created by Lia from Lost in a Story. I’m going to attempt to do this post every week as the rules say, but since I have such a massive TBR, I’m going to be picking out 20 books instead of 10. So, let’s see how this goes!

The Rules:

Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
Order on ascending date added.
Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
Read the synopses of the books
Decide: keep it or should it go?
Keep track of where you left off so you can pick up there next week!

Current “To Read” Shelf: 1416

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eveEve by Anna Carey

This is another book I won through a writing contest years ago, however, I do still have an interest in it. I have a thing for stories with deadly viruses…is that weird? 😛

Judgment: KEEP

roomRoom by Emma Donoghue

Oh yes, definitely keeping this on the list. I have been meaning to read this for so long now, and I really want to see the film as well. Hopefully I’ll have a chance to pick this up soon.

Judgment: KEEP

ultravioletUltraviolet by R.J. Anderson

I’ve had this sitting on my Kindle for years and I’ve never gotten around to it. It still sounds incredibly mysterious and intriguing to me though, so I definitely want to keep this on my TBR. I really want to find out what it’s about!

Judgment: KEEP

annandthefrenchkissAnna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

I am tentatively keeping this on my TBR for now. I’ve tried to start this novel twice and haven’t been able to get into it, and it also isn’t the typical type of book I like to read. However, I’ve heard so many good things about it—plus I need some more cheerful reads on my list—so I will probably try again some day.

Judgment: KEEP

thehandmaidstaleThe Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Another definite keeper for the TBR. I honestly can’t believe this is still sitting in my unread book pile! It’s one that I’m going to try to read this year if possible.

Judgment: KEEP

butilovehimBut I Love Him by Amanda Grace

It’s been hard to make a decision about this one because I have heard that it is a very good book. I will admit, this is one of those novels that did just generally appeal to me much more when I was in my teens. I still have a bit of interest in it and it is on a very important topic. But I’ve also been trying to be extra cautious about reading potentially triggering novels due to my personal state of mind currently. Therefore, I’m going to put this aside for now.

Judgment: GO

aliferevealedA Life Revealed by Suzi Katz

I’m not sure why I still have this one on my TBR. I remember the synopsis sounding pretty interesting (I like witness protection program-type mystery novels), but all the reviews I’ve ever read about it make it sound sort of confusing…and bad. Basically, I think there is clearly a reason I have put this off for so many years—and at the moment, I have no problem with continuing to put it off.

Judgment: GO

twentyboysummerTwenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler

Nah, this one’s just never going to happen. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure this is a great novel—I’ve heard nothing but fantastic things about it. But contemporary romance is not my genre in the first place, and I wasn’t particularly certain I wanted to read it back when I added it years ago.

Judgment: GO

shrinkingvioletShrinking Violet by Danielle Joseph

Okay, so this is one I am removing from my TBR but am going to keep in consideration. This story sounds absolutely adorable and like it would be very light and fun. But I haven’t gotten around to reading it for so many years, and it is another novel that feels a bit young for me, so I’m putting it aside for now.

Judgment: GO

deadlycoolDeadly Cool by Gemma Halliday

Once again, this sounded a lot more interesting to me back when I was in my teens. There are elements that seem intriguing and unique, but I think it is mostly going to be the typical type of storyline meant for a much younger audience.

Judgment: GO

memoirsofateenageamnesiacMemoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin

I’m a little bit sad about this one and the fact that it just doesn’t catch my attention anymore. I have read a number of Gabrielle Zevin’s novels and absolutely loved all of them. However, it has been so long since I found this one that it is just another story that sounds a bit too young for me and my tastes now.

Judgment: GO

thefutureofusThe Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler

I was so excited about this when it was first released, and I couldn’t wait to pick it up…and then I never did. The whole idea for the plot is good, but between my lack of curiosity and the lukewarm reviews, I don’t think I’ll be reading this one.

Judgment: GO

theironkingThe Iron King by Julie Kagawa

I remember there was a ton of hype surrounding this series for a while, and a number of my friends had spoken about it. I was somewhat interested in it at the time, but it isn’t something that really appeals to me quite as much anymore. So, at least for now, I’m going to remove it.

Judgment: GO

unlovableUnlovable by Sherry Gammon

Hmm…this one. I’m not really sure what to say about this one. It’s a book that I have had on my Kindle for so long, and I remember picking it out, but I swear it sounded like a different story then than it does when I read the synopsis now. I’m not too sure about it at this point, so I’m removing it for now but keeping it in my mind given all the wonderful reviews.

Judgment: GO

thebodyfinderThe Body Finder by Kimberly Derting

Picked up a copy of this one so long ago I can’t even remember when it was, but I am still just as interested in reading it as I was back then. This book—and series as a whole—sounds like a really fast-paced, fun mystery/paranormal story, and I think it will make for a nice light read. I’m actually hoping to pick this one up this year.

Judgment: KEEP

clarityClarity by Kim Harrington

I’m definitely getting a bit repetitive now, but this is another one that appealed to me more when I was younger. It actually sounds a lot like Deadly Cool, so I’m sort of disinterested in the plot for similar reasons. This is one that I will still keep in mind though.

Judgment: GO

flowersforalgernonFlowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes

Of course, of course, of course! …OF COURSE! …Need I say more? 😀 Priority read for the year!

Judgment: KEEP

itskindofafunnystoryIt’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini

Wait! Wait! Before you freak out at me about this decision, I have reasons, I promise! I am still incredibly interested in reading this novel. But, as I mentioned a bit earlier, I am trying to be more conscious of my personal mental health lately, which has not been in the best state. It has recently been making reading certain novels harder, particularly those featuring anything that relates too closely to what I’m going through, and this is one that just seems like it would be best to put aside for a little while.

Judgment: GO

themanwhomistookhiswifeforahatThe Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales by Oliver Sacks

Any Oliver Sacks book on my TBR is a definite keeper! I’ve been meaning to read his work for so long now, and I’ve final picked up copies of a few of his novels recently. I’m eager to start reading them over the next few months!

Judgment: KEEP

willgraysonwillgraysonWill Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan

This may be another sort of controversial choice, but I have a reason for this one as well! I am still very interested in this story, so this is most likely not a permanent removal. However, I have not read a single John Green or David Levithan novel, and I have decided to only keep the few individual works I am most interested in by them for now, and begin there to see if I like their work in the first place. If all goes well, this will return!

Judgment: GO

Getting Rid Of: 12/20

TBR Total: 1404

Well, this ended up being MUCH more productive than last time! I’m having so much fun doing these posts—I’m so glad I started them. And I hope you all have been enjoying them so far as well. Plenty more to come!

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