Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Top Ten Characters Who Are Fellow Book Nerds (A Giffy Adventure)


I rarely use GIFS in my posts. But I do find them fun, and
ocasionally approrpiate. I felt that for this particular post...
Many Many gifs were absolutely appropriate.


Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. For future Top Ten Tuesday topics & info on how to participate, click here!

This week's top ten topic is: 
  Top Ten Characters Who are Fellow Book Nerds
1. Okay, this is the obvious one....

2.  Oh oh oh oh oh. They smell so good!

3. And you too Miss Granger


4. Matilda

90s animated GIF

5. Jo March (Little Women)

6. Elizabeth Bennet (Pride and Prejudice)

gif book Pride and Prejudice Reading Elizabeth Bennet

7. I LOVE BOOKS, Sookie!

8. Klaus Baudelaire

gif film movie book books Meryl Streep Jim Carrey emily browning Lemony Snicket

9. Anne Shirley (Anne of Green Gables)
How does reading make you feel, Anne?


Me too. *sigh*

10. Bastian Balthazar Bux

What is your top ten this week?

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Top Ten Books That Celebrate Diversity


Finally getting a chance to attack my ARC piles!
Never before have I felt so determined to shrink my ARC list.
I think it's mainly to do with the fact that the last so many that I've
read have actually been really enjoyable. That certainly keeps me
coming back for more. How are your TBR piles looking this summer?

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. For future Top Ten Tuesday topics & info on how to participate, click here!

This week's top ten topic is: 
  Top Ten Books Celebrating Diversity
  1. - "The Tyrant's Daughter" by J.C. Carleson

This one definitely makes you think about your own prejudices and privileges. It's a reminder that the road to discovering your personal identity is harrowing and confusing at the best of times.


2. "Of Marriageable Age" by Sharon Maas

 Lovely, lovely, lovely. 


3. "American Born Chinese" by Gene Luen Yang

I read this recently for a course in Children's Lit. Aside from being entertaining there's a hard-hitting message about personal identity.


 4. "Shanghai Girls" by Lisa See

*babbling adoration* This...book...


5.  "The Good Earth" by Pearl S. Buck

One of my favorite books of all time. One of the few I've ever read more than twice. Well, to be perfectly honest, it's one of the few I've ever read more than once! This book had a hand in shaping my Teenage years by opening a world up to me that I'd never considered. I give this book some of the credit for my eventual foray into Asian Studies, which turned into my BA in Cultural Anthropology.


6. "Third Daughter" by Susan Kaye Quinn

Steampunk Fantasy in major style! Loved this work.


7.  "5 To 1" by Holly Bodger

Here's a Dystopian for the list.


8.  "A Hundred Secret Senses" by Amy Tan

I love Amy Tan. I've read all of her works but "Saving Fish From Drowning". That one has been on my TBR list forever. If anyone ever asks me what books I grew up on... Amy Tan's works hold solid on that list.


9.  "One Crazy Summer" by Rita Williams-Garcia

This one should be on everyone's list!


10. "Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel" by Sara Farizan

This is one I definitely want to read, but just haven't gotten around to yet.

Bonus: "I Love, I Hate, I Miss My Sister" by Amelie Sarn

I had to add this one because I'm so interested in picking it up, but I haven't heard enough good (or bad) things about it to make a sure decision about whether or not it should be on this particular list. But I'm jonesing to read this one, so why not.


What are your Top Ten this week?

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Review: "The Scared Lies of Minnow Bly" by Stephanie Oakes


Title: The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly

Author: Stephanie Oakes

Genre: YA Fairytale Retelling/ Contemporary Horror

Publication: June 9, 2015



The Kevinian cult has taken everything from seventeen-year-old Minnow: twelve years of her life, her family, her ability to trust.

And when she rebelled, they took away her hands, too.

Now their Prophet has been murdered and their camp set aflame, and it's clear that Minnow knows something—but she's not talking. As she languishes in juvenile detention, she struggles to un-learn everything she has been taught to believe, adjusting to a life behind bars and recounting the events that led up to her incarceration. But when an FBI detective approaches her about making a deal, Minnow sees she can have the freedom she always dreamed of—if she’s willing to part with the terrible secrets of her past.

The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly is a hard-hitting and hopeful story about the dangers of blind faith—and the power of having faith in oneself.

Auggie's Review

Entertaining/ Pleasant Read
Again, this is another of those books that enticed me with the "fairytale retelling" thing. The Girl Without Hands by Brother's Grimm in a modern day setting... but it wasn't that at all. Again, we've got a few of the basics (A girl with no hands, cut off by her father, and turned to silver for her to keep). And I guess we've, loosely, got the devil involved somehow. Other than that, I'm not seeing the tie in.

I'm wondering if my appreciation of this book would have been different if I hadn't gone in expecting a fairytale retelling.

Not that there weren't parts of this book that were compelling and heartwrenching and gut punching (sorry, couldn't think of another way to say it), there absolutely were. There were moments while reading this that I felt tears and anger and outrage for our main character... but the general story was told in such random pieces that I found I had a bit of a hard time keeping track of what was going on, how old she was in which flashback, and separating what had already happened with what had not.

Basically this was one of those reads that left me feeling a bit hollow. There's no happiness here, there's no hopeful message or moral. The message is more like "For some people, life really sucks, and no one is going to understand that... so you're on your own... but hey! At least there's probably no God, so you're safe there."

I had zero expectation of this book being a happy one. So, no, I wasn't expecting a happy ending... but I was expecting a message. Something other than our judicial system is jacked and people are screwed up.

I did enjoy the moments when Minnow was overcoming, when her world was broadening up and she was finding some answers for all of her infinite questions. Even though she traded one prison for another, she was still discovering. I think many readers will see themselves in Minnow, the searching and the coming undone from oppressive beliefs.

At any rate, I wanted there to be some kind of message in this work and I couldn't piece together exactly what it was. I closed the book feeling a bit angry and empty for Minnow... and as much as there was talk about "hope" I didn't feel like there really was too much of that by the end of the work.

It was more that I felt like I'd just watched a dad pin a $20 bill to his 7 year old's shirt, then load him on a train to some unknown destination with a pat on the head and a "Good luck, kid".

Not a garbage book. The parts that were clear were well written and emotion wrenching and finding out exactly what happened to the Prophet was like releasing a held breath. You just have to kind of wade through and piece things together as you go. Not a smooth telling.

Auggie is the 28 year old whirlwind owner of Auggie-Talk. A Teen Librarian and bibliobibuli by nature as well as a (potentially obsessive) lover of Diana Wynne Jones and Neil Gaiman. One can normally find Auggie neck deep in reading, writing, or daydreaming (sometimes all three at once).  She's also been known to drink too much caffeine and eat too many lemon flavored sweets.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Tori Review: "Death Wish" by Megan Tayte


Title: Death Wish

Author: Megan Tayte

Genre: YA Paranormal

Publication: February 7, 2015

Pages: 305


The Ceruleans: mere mortals infused with power over life and death. Five books; one question: If the might of the heavens were in your hands, would you be sinner or saint?

Seventeen-year-old Scarlett Blake is haunted by death. Her estranged sister has made the ultimate dramatic exit. Running away from school, joining a surfing fraternity, partying hard: that sounds like Sienna. But suicide? It makes no sense.

Following in her sister’s footsteps, Scarlett comes to an isolated English cove with grand plans to uncover the truth. Alone. But she hasn’t reckoned on meeting two boys who are determined to help her. Luke: the blue-eyed surfer who’ll see the real Scarlett, who’ll challenge her, who’ll save her. And Jude: the elusive drifter with a knack for turning up whenever Scarlett’s in need.

As Scarlett’s quest for the truth unravels, so too does her grip on reality as she’s always known it. Because there’s something strange going on in this little cove. A dead magpie circles the skies. A dead deer watches from the undergrowth. Hands glow with light. Warmth. Power.

What transpires is a summer of discovery. Of what it means to conquer fear. To fall in love. To choose life. To choose death.

To believe the impossible.

Very Enjoyable Read! 

I have to say, I was certainly intrigued by the synopsis of this book. Just by the hook line, “mere mortals infused with power over life and death,” I knew that Scarlett Blake was going to have to be something quite special. So I decided to dip my toes in particularly slowly with this read and get to know her a little before I allowed my tendency to devour all things magical to take over. 

Upon finishing this book, I will tell you that if you are looking for a series that is heavy on the paranormal then I don’t believe that Death Wish is for you. Now, don’t misunderstand me…I quite enjoyed this book. I just think that this was far more YA with maybe a few sprinkles of mystical goodness thrown in than an actual YA Paranormal. 

With that being said, Scarlett was the first main character that I have not felt wholly connected to in quite some time. I just seemed to hover around her movements rather than actually mind melding with her character. She was, however, refreshingly messy. I was intrigued by the fact that although she did have gorgeous surfer types saving her throughout the book…it was her own strength that I felt brought her out of the darkness that clouded her mind. 

I did find myself relating to the dynamic that she had once shared with her sister, Sienna. Scarlett was the quiet one, letting her sister be the one to always shine. Sienna did seem to thrive on being the center of attention and Scarlett allowed it to happen. It took losing her for Scarlett to figure out that she could sparkle in her own way. I also completely adored the character of Cara, who was full of enough energy for a few characters and then some. 

The romance between Luke and Scarlett blossomed quite slowly and I was happy to see that the addition of another male character didn’t immediately lead us into the love triangle equation that you often find in YA. However, it did leave me itching to find out more about the elusive Jude and I am hoping that more…much more will be explained later. This book was a bit of a slow read for me but the plot developed quite well and I was happy when the mystery started to unravel into the mystical that I was expecting from the beginning.

3.5 quills to Death Wish. Megan Tayte delivered a book that sparked my interest and I am hopeful that Forget Me Not, the second installment in the Ceruleans series, will set that spark ablaze.

Happy Reading Lovelies!
  Tori is a  24 year old tiny oddball of a woman who ardently loves rainy days and festive repartee. A college graduate, she holds a degree in communications with an emphasis on writing for media. Tori is currently an Assistant librarian working towards getting her Master's in Library Science. You will not find it surprising that this Auggie-Talk Co-Blogger is a passionate devotee of impulsive bookstore perusing and reading far past the point of exhaustion.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Review: "The Witch of Painted Sorrows" by M.J. Rose


Title: The Witch of Painted Sorrows

Author: M.J. Rose

Genre: Historical (Romance/Paranormal)

Publication: March 17, 215

Pages: 384


Possession. Power. Passion. New York Times bestselling novelist M. J. Rose creates her most provocative and magical spellbinder yet in this gothic novel set against the lavish spectacle of 1890s Belle Époque Paris.

Sandrine Salome flees New York for her grandmother’s Paris mansion to escape her dangerous husband, but what she finds there is even more menacing. The house, famous for its lavish art collection and elegant salons, is mysteriously closed up. Although her grandmother insists it’s dangerous for Sandrine to visit, she defies her and meets Julien Duplessi, a mesmerizing young architect. Together they explore the hidden night world of Paris, the forbidden occult underground and Sandrine’s deepest desires.

Among the bohemians and the demi-monde, Sandrine discovers her erotic nature as a lover and painter. Then darker influences threaten—her cold and cruel husband is tracking her down and something sinister is taking hold, changing Sandrine, altering her. She’s become possessed by La Lune: A witch, a legend, and a sixteenth-century courtesan, who opens up her life to a darkness that may become a gift or a curse.

This is Sandrine’s “wild night of the soul,” her odyssey in the magnificent city of Paris, of art, love, and witchery.

Auggie's Review
Entertaining/Pleasant Read

A bit disappointed in how this book ended. Beautifully written, but I knew it would be. It's M.J. Rose! But, despite its decadent settings and beautiful language the story fell a little flat for me, mostly because I couldn't bring myself to cheer for the main character. Definitely still worth the read. Gorgeous, haunting, and sensual.

It was most certainly intense, but I bring things back around to my general dislike for the main character, which somewhat put a damper on the entire experience. Sandrine is pretty much a wet noodle, which I guess makes it easier for La Lune to not only hook her claws in her but eventually take over entirely. The girl has no willpower! She'd much rather be La Lune than herself, which can be understood after the tragedy she endures. I was just hoping that she would wake up and realize that she was enough.

I wanted that to be the message: You are enough just being yourself.

Instead the message was: You're probably a sad sorry excuse for a person and this centuries old dead witch lady is a much better than you will ever be, so let her take over your soul and practically erase you from existence. Everyone will be happier.

*slow claps*

The other characters were delightful, though, especially Sandrine's grandmother who is a VERY VERY smart, charming, and in-control lady. She's the type of person I would rather be if it came down to choosing between her and Sandrine. She forged her own way in life without a witch.

Sandrine's love interest was, um, wow. I mean. My Shining Prince is pretty smexy but, yikes, Julian. Rwar.


Overall this was pure M.J. Rose - Beautiful settings, beautiful language, sensuous and silky.

Still not a favorite by this author, but it's definitely worth a read.

Auggie is the 28 year old whirlwind owner of Auggie-Talk. A Teen Librarian and bibliobibuli by nature as well as a (potentially obsessive) lover of Diana Wynne Jones and Neil Gaiman. One can normally find Auggie neck deep in reading, writing, or daydreaming (sometimes all three at once).  She's also been known to drink too much caffeine and eat too many lemon flavored sweets.