Friday, February 24, 2017

Review - Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

Brown Girl Dreaming
Series: Standalone
Genre: Memoir/Poetry 
Source: Overdrive
Audiobook - 3hrs 55 min.
Penguin Audio - 2014
Add it // Buy it 

Raised in South Carolina and New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement. Touching and powerful, each poem is both accessible and emotionally charged, each line a glimpse into a child’s soul as she searches for her place in the world. Woodson’s eloquent poetry also reflects the joy of finding her voice through writing stories, despite the fact that she struggled with reading as a child. Her love of stories inspired her and stayed with her, creating the first sparks of the gifted writer she was to become.

Honestly, I have few words for this book beyond beautiful, eloquent and important. I want to push this into everyone's hands and I recommend the audiobook, read by the author, even more.

Woodson creates powerful imagery with beautiful prose. The memories she shares are vivid and candid. I could see Ohio, South Carolina and New York City.  Throughout the book Woodson puts her own childhood into the context of the Civil Rights Movement and the 1960's. While the poems are snapshots of her childhood, the overall picture is clear and tells a beautiful story of her early life. I especially enjoyed the poems about Woodson's first inklings about wanting to write and tell stories. 

I've never read anything like this before. The writing is lovely and I cannot say enough good things about it.  There are many things to learn in each poem and take in overall. I continue to think about this book long after I finished the book.

 Rating: 5/5

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Book Outlet Unboxing

While I continue to buy fewer books, I can't cut myself off completely. This month I picked up several gems from Book Outlet and decided to do a short unboxing for you all!

Books Mentioned: 

Monday, February 20, 2017

DNF - The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman

 The Light Between Oceans
Series: Standalone
Genre: Historical Fiction
Age Group: Adults
Source: Purchased
Hardcover - 343 pgs
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After four harrowing years on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia and takes a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, nearly half a day’s journey from the coast. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes once a season and shore leaves are granted every other year at best, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel. Years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel hears a baby’s cries on the wind. A boat has washed up onshore carrying a dead man and a living baby. 

Tom, whose records as a lighthouse keeper are meticulous and whose moral principles have withstood a horrific war, wants to report the man and infant immediately. But Isabel has taken the tiny baby to her breast. Against Tom’s judgment, they claim her as their own and name her Lucy. When she is two, Tom and Isabel return to the mainland and are reminded that there are other people in the world. Their choice has devastated one of them.

After spending months trying to get through this book, I finally gave up which is disappointing. I was really interested in this book from the first time I heard about it. Normally, I don't write reviews for books I DNF. However, given this book seems to be very polarizing, I want to share my reasons for disliking and ultimately giving up on The Light Between Oceans.

First of all I liked Tom. He was an interesting character and I enjoyed hearing about his job as a lighthouse keeper. The sections about Janus were very interesting too. The wild beauty of the ocean was especially well described. Even the parts about Tom's early life and his journey to Janus were very interesting.

Like I said I liked Tom, but I disliked all the other characters and I just didn't care what happened to them. As a couple I found many of Tom and his wife, Isabel's, action totally unbelievable and unrealistic. They continuously made bad decisions and tried to justify them. There was an easy decision to make and no one made it. Honestly I didn't get far enough in the book to find out if ANYONE made a decision that wasn't completely selfish. I understand what the book was trying to do, but this one just didn't work for me.

Overall, the slow pace and frustrating characters just killed the book for me. Maybe I'll watch the movie? That must move faster right?

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Books I Want to Reread

Have you heard? Goodreads has a reread feature now! While I always have loved rereading, it is easier now which makes me anxious to do more rereading. After the annoucement I went through my shelves to pick out a few books I plan to reread very soon. In fact, I may have already started some of these.

Will the ability to count rereads toward your reading challenge change your future reading? Should rereads count toward your book challenge? Let me know what you think!

Friday, February 17, 2017

Review - Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger

Etiquette & Espionage (Finishing School, #1)
Series: Finishing School #1 
Genre: Historical Science-Fiction
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: Purchased
Paperback - 307

Rating 4/5

Fourteen-year-old Sophronia Temminnick is a great trial to her poor mother--her atrocious curtsy is an embarrassment to the family name. So Mrs. Temminnick enrolls her daughter in Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality.

But Sophronia soon realizes the school is not quite what her mother might have hoped. At Mademoiselle Geraldine's, young ladies certainly learn the fine arts of dance, dress, and etiquette, but they also learn to deal out death, diversion and espionage--in the politest possible ways, of course. Sophronia and her friends are in for a rousing first year's education.

It is well known at this point; I love Gail Carriger. Her books are fun, fast-paced and full of adventure. This particular series, thus far, is less paranormal centered than the Parasol Protectorate. I'm not complaining though. I enjoyed this first book very very much.

Sophronia was excellent. She was a tad immature at moments, but overall she had great spirit. So much spying, friendship and tea!Carriger celebrates everything feminine and femme fatale in the kickoff to the Finishing School Series.

Toward the beginning the narration style is a little awkward. Compared to PP the writing felt simplified at first, but seemed to get better as the book went on. The witty and snarky were still there, but this story had an element of silliness that didn't fit quite right in a story about the wickedly clever ladies. Just like PP though, this series has a diverse cast of characters as well as a delightful mix of steampunk and history.

Honestly I'm anxious to check out how the girls in this school will grow and change in future books. The foundations of these characters was good. They were a tad flat, but I became quite attached to them during the course of the story.

Overall it was great.

My Last Review - The Queen of the Tearling

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

T5W - Current Non-Bookish Favorites (Past Topic)

A few weeks ago I looked at the Top Five Wednesday Topics for this week. However, I mixed up the weeks and filmed the topic I wanted to talk about for the wrong week! So the topic of Non-Bookish Favorites has already been done. I had the video filmed before I realized this so I decided to post it anyway.

I do want to get back into monthly favorites posts so think of this as a prelude to that post in a few weeks!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday - Favorites Couples/Ships

It is Valentine's Day so, of course, the Broke and the Bookish's Top Ten Tuesday topic is romance related. I'm naming off my favorite literary, film and television couples and ships in honor of the holiday.

1) Booth and Brennan (Bones) - These two were one of my longest running ships and one of my favorite overall couples on screen. Especially now that the show is in its final season, I have realized how much I love these two together.

Image result for booth and brennan

2) Alanna and George (Totall Universe by Tamora Pierce) - Another long standing ship/couple that I love. I originally read Pierce's books when I was in middle school. I've loved these two and their relationship for so long now. They were friends to lovers and I adore them together. If you have good fan art of them, let me know!!

Friday, February 3, 2017

Review - Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

The Queen of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling, #1)
Series: Queen of the Tearling #1
Genre: High Fantasy
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: Overdrive Borrow
Published: July 2014
Add it // Buy it

Rating 5/5 

Young Kelsea Raleigh was raised in hiding after the death of her mother, Queen Elyssa, far from the intrigues of the royal Keep and in the care of two devoted servants who pledged their lives to protect her. Growing up in a cottage deep in the woods, Kelsea knows little of her kingdom's haunted past . . . or that its fate will soon rest in her hands.

Long ago, Kelsea's forefathers sailed away from a decaying world to establish a new land free of modern technology. Three hundred years later, this feudal society has divided into three fearful nations who pay duties to a fourth: the powerful Mortmesne, ruled by the cunning Red Queen. Now, on Kelsea's nineteenth birthday, the tattered remnants of the Queen's Guard—loyal soldiers who protect the throne—have appeared to escort the princess on a perilous journey to the capital to ascend to her rightful place as the new Queen of the Tearling.

Though born of royal blood and in possession of the Tear sapphire, a jewel of immense power and magic, Kelsea has never felt more uncertain of her ability to rule. But the shocking evil she discovers in the heart of her realm will precipitate an act of immense daring, throwing the entire kingdom into turmoil—and unleashing the Red Queen's vengeance.

This story was incredible. It totally took me by surprise since I had started this book several times but failed to read beyond 50 pages. This time I borrowed the audiobook from my local library and fell into the story. The narrator was one of the most dynamic and engaging readers I've come across. She made the story come alive and had my heart racing at many intense points.

Throughout the novel the story was a delightful mix of action and political strategy. Kelsea grew on me throughout the book and I am very very attached to her. She made tough decisions. She was impulsive at times and made mistakes. However, she acted and ruled like a sheltered nineteen-year-old which was exactly what she was. I loved it. Her story felt authentic and realistic. I was glued to this audiobook.

Mace and the other side characters were also very interesting and I can't wait to find out more of the background of this kingdom. Of course, I am very interested to see who Kelsea's father is and more about the history of the other kingdoms. Johansen built a very interesting world and I am dying with curiosity to discover more of its secrets.

Overall, this was well written and well read. I have already borrowed book two and am glad all three books are available for me to devour.

Happy Reading