Earlier this year I read Tiffany King’s A Shattered Moment. It wasn’t the first time I thoroughly enjoyed a book from King, but I think reading it got me back into the mindset to read her books after taking a little break. They often pack emotional punches and I need to space out my reading to not overdo it for myself. Those emotional punches, among other story elements I’ve come to enjoy from Tiffany King, are not absent in A Shattered Heart.
It took me a little longer to get into this story than with the first book in the Fractured Lives series, but that didn’t deter me from pushing through and coming out the other side glad that I read on. Kat, the narrator, may not be the most loveable character, but that’s what made the story work. She has her own issues to deal with and seeing her work through them and get her life back was worth the journey.
Not only does King give readers a chance to get to know minor characters from book one, she continues to develop the bigger picture: the relationship and struggles among the family of friends (and their families) Kat is a part of. This is where much of the emotion I felt came from, while reading. I enjoyed Kat and her story, but I also gained a new appreciation for people who go through hell and come out the other side, whether they personally went through it or watched a family member do so. Everyone’s effected and this book illustrates it well.
I like where this series went in book two, and I like where I see it going after this (at least I feel there’s another book coming). Will it be just as good at this one? I think so. I think there’s some bigger issues to address with that one, and I’m looking forward to every moment of it.
Overall, I enjoyed what I read in Chess Desalls first The Call to Search Everywhen novel, Travel Glasses. It wasn’t the easiest book to follow, but it shows potential for future books, and that’s a good indicator for the start of a series.
As with all books dealing with time travel, it’s not always easy to keep the story straight, whether you’re the writer or the reader. In this case, I think it the traveling aspect of the story was a bit confusing. At the same time, the main character was just as confused as the reader. This may or may not have aided in being a little forgiving on how much the story jumped around without trying to build a world around the “where” and “when” was taking place. I’m hoping that with the second book, things will be a little easier to follow and to enjoy because the characters have revealed more toward the latter end of this book.
The characters in this book also suffered a bit. While I was able to sympathize with many of them, and grew to like some, there were times when they felt a bit flat. And if not flat, they felt breezed over at times. I would have liked a little more attention given to them to help ground me in the story that was all over the place (literally, since there’s a lot of traveling taking place). Still, by the end, I think I got a better understanding of the main characters and also a clear direction to where the series will go. It just took longer that expected to get to that attitude toward the book.
As I stated before, I did enjoy this book. I feel that I could end up enjoying book two, Insight Kindling, much more and in turn reading further into the series as they’re released.
In a world where your sunset photos have to be perfectly aligned and your food artfully arranged on quirky mismatched dishware—how do you up the Instagram ante with your book photos? Here are some tips to help you become a master of the perfect Bookstagram photo. No messy, disorganized bookshelves under this #shelfie tag.
image via @bookmarauder
Think outside the box – or book jacket
Don't be afraid to strip down your books. Take the book out of its jacket and see if it has a cover in a striking color or features a cool font. Open the book to take a picture of the splayed pages or take a picture of the spine. Some instagrammers like to feature books with complimentary-color covers together, or books with contrasting-color covers. You can group by author, genre, almost any common thread you can think of – and bonus points if it’s one other people haven’t thought of before.
image via @subwaybookreview
Have a signature style
Your shots should have some kind of recognizable quirk that your followers can quickly pick up as your signature style. Another way to stand out is to focus on a certain genre. Photographing fantasy books or YA exclusively gives your insta a distinct niche and point of view, and fans of those genres are more likely to follow you. Alternatively, you could always put your personality forward in your captions. You could try always giving a 5 word review, tell where you bought or read a book, or make comparisons to more well-known books to let your followers know the vibe of the novel.
image via @blueeyedbiblio
One of my favorite things about the best #bookstagrammers on my feed are the awesome props they use in their photos. You might not think of a coffee cup or a cute pen as a prop, but that’s what they are when you’re composing a photo. I love unique bookmarks like the one by MyBookmark, featured above, or the wooden #currentlyreading booksmarks by nook & burrow. Everyone can enjoy a new bookish find like bookstore-scented candles or a Divergent necklace and featuring those items in a book photo can provide a way more interesting way to showcase them. It can also be fun to use something that expresses another part of your personality as a prop - like your Captain America bobblehead, or a combination outfit/book photo to show off your fashion. Maybe place a book next to your iPod showing the album you’re listening to. Don’t feel like it has to be just about books.
Location and Lighting
Unless you have some a professional studio, I generally advise sticking to natural light. It’s, well, the most natural! Photographing books can be tricky because the covers can reflect the glare of a flash or an overhead light. You don’t need your book to look like it is specially lit, you just want consistency and at a bare minimum to be able to see everything and not to have a fuzzy photo. Selfie rules apply – if your bed isn’t made and it’s not intentionally part of the shot, don’t include it in the frame of the photo. You might want the photo to be a snapshot of your life, and your life may include clutter, but unless it’s artfully arranged it can make a photo too busy or just not aesthetically pleasing.
image via @strandbookstore
Here are some of our favorite bookstagrammers.
I love @blueeyedbiblio and through her account I’ve discovered her whole awesome book dragons pack. I’m regularly inspired by @bookmaurader, @tinybookreviews, @lastnightsreading, and @subwaybookreview. Some publishers and other companies I enjoy on Instagram are @ChronicleBooks, @QuirkBooks, @litographs, @harperperennial. My own Instagram is @shinyandrea, and is a mix of books, fashion and food.
You can also follow popular hashtags like #bookstagram, #currentlyreading, #books, #reading, you get the idea. Using those hashtags can help you gain followers. When it comes to publishers and authors, following your favorites on Instagram is a great way to make connections. Don't forget to tag them in posts about their books!
S.M. Boyce has done it yet again. The Grimoire Saga may have ended with the release of Illusion last year, but my adventures through the world of Ourea are far from over. The Misanthrope is a welcomed return to the magical, dangerous world that Boyce created, and I couldn't have asked for a better story to read.
Like the read of the books I've read from Boyce, there is no lack of genius writing. Each setting is written beautifully. Whether it's on Earth or in Ourea, I felt like I was there standing beside the characters, taking in the scenery, sounds, and scents. That's one of the things that drew me in early on.
Strong, well fleshed out characters are also offered up in this book. Stone, the main character, was able to develop more in this book compared to when readers first read him in the later Grimorie Saga books. I felt like I was able to understand and sympathize with him even more having read his story, now. The side characters, while not the main focus of this story, were also brought to life to the point that I would enjoy reading books focused on their lives, as well. Each character has something to hook me in and make me curious about what makes them tick.
Another thing that I thought made me enjoy The Misanthrope just a little bit more was that, while being part of a spin-off series to the Grimoire books, it felt like a book all its own. The was much shorter in length, yet packed just as much of a punch. it was a bit faster paced, and I think the story benefited its brevity in certain sections. For a book that covers many decades of Stone's life, it didn't feel like it was jumping forward too fast, nor did it feel like it was bogged down on any one time period.
As with my reading of Boyce's previous books, I'm already getting impatient about her next release. Credric's story will be the next in The Ourean Chronicles and I have no doubts as to whether or not it'll end up at the top of my tbr pile once it's released.
It took me a little longer to get my hands on this book than I would have liked. When a Tiffany King novel comes out, I’m always eager to dive right in. Now that I’ve finally read A Shattered Moment, I can say that the wait was worth it. This book is another to put on my favorites shelf.
One of the great things about this book was that King packed in so much emotions without being heavy handed about it. There’s love, loss, anxiety, fear. It’s all within the pages of this book, but it’s spread out well and written to grab a readers’ attention, their heart, but not tear it out completely. Just tugging on it a little. A book dealing with issues like this one did could have gone overboard with it all, but I don’t think it would have worked well, that way.
It’d be hard to discuss what I enjoyed about the plot without chancing spoilers. It’s not that anything super crazy happened, but I think it’d best to go into this one blind. It’ll help everything have the full impact it deserves. What I can say is that this is another book with great characters, from King. I enjoyed the chapters from Mac’s POV best. What her character has to struggle with and through, seeing it through her eyes is the best way to let the story unfold. I didn’t mind Bentley’s POV either, though I felt like his voice changed a bit abruptly nearing the middle of the book. It changed for the better, though, and at first I wasn’t his biggest fan even if he was a nice guy. Even King’s secondary characters, while they’re seen and heard from only briefly, worked well.
I’m looking forward to the next book in the Fractured Lives series. I’m not sure what’ll have in store, but with writing like King gave readers in this book, I’m eagerly awaiting its release.
Necklace of Kisses is the book in Francesca Lia Block’s Weetzie Bat books. I read the first five books in the Dangerous Angels collection and loved every minute of it. While Necklace of Kisses differs from those books, in my opinion, Block’s writing is just as captivating.
As I said, I found this book to have a different feel than the rest of the Weetzie Bat books, though this wasn’t a thing that turned me off. One thing that made this change (that I’m not really sure I can accurately put into words) feel natural is that Weetzie is now 40. She’s grown up. She’s a mother of college kids. And she is just now finding herself. As readers, we’ve aged with Weetzie, as well. And behind the beautiful language, magical characters, and otherworldly experiences Weetzie has in this book, there is a story that we can all relate to. I may not be Weetzie’s age, but we all have a time in our life when we need to go out and find ourselves. For her, it just happened a little later in a magical, crazy life.
I’m not going to come out and say this was my favorite book of the series. I think the first book will always hold that place for me for many reasons. However, the fact that Block has shared this cast of characters’ lives with us over many years, and still can keep the magic in her books, that’s what’ll keep me reading her work. It’s also what’ll keep me coming back to this series (I still have the prequel, Pink Smog, to read next) for as long as it may go on. I wouldn’t be opposed to reading about Weetzie, Max, Dirk, and Duck all in rockers watching grandchildren grow up before their eyes.
It’s been a few years since I first read The Island by Jen Minkman. The Waves is the second novella in The Island series, though instead of being a book two, it’s a parallel story to The Island.
While this is a story parallel to the first novella, telling the story of life on the other side of Tresco, it’s also a little more in-depth of a story. What I like best about these books isn’t that there’s action or romance or anything like that, but that there’s a well-written backstory to how the two settlements on this island came to be, and what happened to the world. Even though I knew what would be revealed in The Waves because I read The Island, I was drawn in as the story unfolded. It was a different culture dealing with the new information about its history. It was also a different prescriptive put on the events that take place later in the story.
Minkman, again, entertains her readers, makes them think into the deeper meanings behind Tresco’s history, and also makes readers meditate on faith and what it means to believe, no matter what it is that one believes in.
There’s a third book in this series now, The Deep, and it seems to continue from where the first two books left off. The story will move forward, and I plan on moving forward with the characters. I’m looking forward to seeing what’s in store for them.
I’m not familiar with the mythology surrounding Galatea, but I am familiar with Madeline Miller’s writing. I knew from reading The Song of Achilles that Miller’s writing alone would be enough to make this story worth reading.
Because, as I said, I don’t know much about the myth that’s being re-imagined, I can’t comment too much on the liberties the author took. What I can comment on is that Miller’s writing drew me in from the beginning. It’s such a well-written and intriguing story to dive into. The narration by Galatea really made this what it is. We get information from her at just the right pace and the right time, letting the situation she’s living in unfold around us. She’s a woman carved from stone, and turned into a real woman. She’s a mother longing to see her daughter again. And a wife with a controlling and demanding husband…a husband who created her for his pleasure.
I won’t get into the plot more than that, or the different characters. I think I enjoyed going into this story not knowing that much.
Even though it was only a short story, it’s made me want to read more from Miller, the way I felt after reading The Song of Achilles last year. I’m hoping there’s more out there to discover, soon. There’s something enchanting about the reading experience.
Yes, I actually read one of those dinosaur, semi-erotic stories. Finally. I’ve tried a few in the past to see why they were becoming a thing, but I don’t think I finished any. Jurassic Jane Eyre isn’t one I DNF’d. I actually enjoyed what I read.
I think the main reason I enjoyed this story was because it didn’t take itself seriously. The author wrote a pretty good story, while letting the character narrate the ridiculous situation as if she were just as baffled by what she was getting into.
I also thought that it touched on sexuality in a good way, even if it was brief (it was a short story after all. Can’t elaborate too much in a few thousand words.) It was just enough to hint that the stories this was parodying might not be portraying homosexuality (at least most of them deal with non-straight relations) in a more truthful light, despite the fact that it’s also a dino-human relationship.
I’d check out other stories from this author for sure. For a few minute escape, and some good laughs, it was definitely worth checking out. I also thought the addition of the “Science Disclaimer”, which pointed out all the inaccuracies in the story, added even more to the experience.
This was an enjoyable book. I think many younger readers would enjoy this story of a dog who didn't seem to have a place in the world, but found a family who loved him. There's a bit of adventure, some good lessons, and the ending, while it might not sit well for every readers, was an interesting addition to a story about what having a pet truly means to a family.
I read this as audio, so I'd like to make a quick mention that the narration was done well for a book of this nature. I think it added to the experience to hear it read aloud.
When starting this book, I didn’t expect the experience I had from reading it. Girl at War is a beautifully written, intense, and captivating début novel. If I hadn’t known this was Nović’s début, I’d have assumed there was a backlist to check out. There isn’t, yet, though. This author is just that talented from the start.
The first person narrative was key to drawing the reader into the experiences of being a child during a war. Ana is trying to have a childhood in a city that’s being bombed from the air. Her family has just enough rationed food to not waste away. And there’s always a lingering knowledge that a loved one might not walk through the door at the end of the day. Along with all of this, Rahela, Ana’s baby sister’s health is a major concern tearing at the family. This is troublesome for any person to live through, but for a ten-year-old, it’s a very impressionable time. Nović portrayal of this child in a war-torn setting had me closing the book every now and then just to absorb it all, knowing that this was the childhood of many kids only a few decades ago, and in places around the world today.
I also thought that after the initial set-up of Ana’s childhood, jumping to her in her twenties in New York City. Ana’s juggling college, a relationship, and memories of her past effecting her more and more each day. With this and flashback scenes, the reader gets the full scope of Ana’s life journey and her journey to heal, to look for answers, to not forget.
This book, its setting, its characters, and the gorgeous writing, it will stay with me for a long time. It has been a long time since a book has had an effect on me like Girl at War has. It may have ruined me for whatever book I read next. And I’m ok with that.
Many know that I’m a big fan of S.M. Boyce’s work. She’s the author of The Grimoire Saga, and it’s become one of my favorite series. But that is prose writing, and A Life for Sale, this is poetry. Not everyone who can write beautiful and engaging prose can switch over to verse with ease, but that’s what Boyce seems to have done.
In her first published poem, Boyce doesn’t show the shaky hand of a first time poet. This poem surprised me with how well it conjured up images of each item “for sale”, along with the memories surrounding them. And the emotions written between the lines shown through expertly, but weren’t overbearing.
I’m not always good at putting my reaction to a poem into words, so I won’t try to elaborate much more. But between reading this poem and then listening to Boyce’s recording (it’s a bonus I wasn’t expecting) at the end of the book, I know A Life for Sale will be a poem I come back to time and time again. I also hope that we’ll see more poetry from Boyce. She’s showed me that she’s not only a master of prose, but can also stand side-by-side with many of my favorite poets.
Quick review: Didn't enjoy this nearly as much as the first two books. Enjoyed it more than The Lost Symbol. The pacing wasn't very great, and I remember speeding through the first three books wanting to keep reading. But there was a lot in here that I enjoyed, even if I felt it wasn't as strong of a story, for this genre, as I've seen Brown bring with his Langdon books.
I'll probably keep going in the series if Brown writes more, though I don't have high expectations that it'll be more than what fans have grown to expect at this point. A good read, but nothing ground-breaking.
Before You Break surprised me in many ways. I read Lee’s Promise Me This which is another book in her Between Breaths series. I enjoyed that one. I knew I’d like Lee’s writing from that novel alone, and it came through in Before You Break, as well. What I wasn’t expecting is for Lee to have another set of characters that I didn’t want to stop reading about.
The characters weren’t the only compelling things in this book. The portrayal of their stories, both the trouble pasts and their current issues, felt very real and relatable on many levels (even if readers haven’t gone through the exact experiences). I also appreciate the pace the romance took. It was as far from an instalove as you can get, but wasn’t frustrating to wait for either.
There’s a small detail that irked me a bit while reading the book, but at the same time I was able to push it aside because of how amazing everything else in this story was. It’s rare that I can ignore a detail like this one, but the fact that it didn’t ruin my reading of this book (when it could have) shows me the strengths in Lee’s writing and will keep me coming back to each of her books in this series and more.
I’m glad I picked up this short story. It gave me a chance to find out what Winship’s writing talents really are. Until now, I’d only read two of the three books from the Vaempires series. I loved them. They’re filled with action, great characters, and a great story that I can’t wait to dive back into soon. But Roadside Assistance takes place in the real world. It’s a departure from the sci-fi/paranormal and future setting that the Vaempire series has. I feel that this drastic change, for me as a reader, worked better than some authors can pull off.
The story brings the reader into the head of the main character Hannah during a horrible accident. It’s a great look into how someone’s thought process works in crisis and what the human body can do to overcome life threatening situations. For me, this was a new side of Winship. It’s not present in his series and I admire when an author can show a diversity in writing styles.
I think at a few parts, the pacing didn’t work great for me. But when a story tackles what this one does, a little dragging here and there isn’t a big deal. I wasn’t the biggest fan of the last section, but I did like how the author brought focus to one of the themes that I felt slowly got more and more important to the main character. I wasn’t exactly sure of the outcome of this story, and had many ideas as it progressed. Turns out I was wrong with each expectation, and that’s always a sign of a great story for me.
I’m looking forward to seeing what else Winship ends up writing, whether it’s Vaempire related or another story like this. I think it’ll be a welcomed read, whatever ends up being released.
It isn't normally the type of book I'd pick up to "read", especially to read and wind up reviewing, but I make exceptions every now and then. This is a book of photography based around a road trip across two countries and a dog that loves to hide for photos. Seemed like a fun book to take a look at.
Find Momo Coast to Coast is full of some great photographs from various tourist attractions and many places from across the United States and Canada from when Momo, a border collie, and Andrew Knapp took a road trip. On their own, the photographs are worth checking out. With the addition of the game, a Where's Waldo type game, of finding Momo in each photo, it's an even better book to take a look at.
It's this mix of game and serious photographic journey that I enjoyed most. There's even an "answer key" in the back of the book for those who need help spotting Momo. Long with the answer, in the back the location of each photo is listed. For me, I'd personally have liked the location given with each photo. That was my only real pet peeve when looking through the book. I found myself flipping back and forth from the photos to the answer key to find out where it was taken. I would have liked that information paired up with the photo to help keep my flow through the book. It's a minor thing really, but it's part of the experience. I'm not sure how well it'll work in the ebook format. So maybe something to take note of when choosing which format to purchase if you do so.
I see that there's a book called Find Momo that came out before this one. I think I'll try tracking that one down to enjoy soon. I'm sure it'll be just as great of an addition to my collection as this one.