Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday: The Five Daughters of the Moon by Leena Likitalo

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights exciting upcoming releases that we can't wait to be released!

This week's upcoming book spotlight is:
The Five Daughters of the Moon by Leena Likitalo
Publication Date: July 25th, 2017

From Goodreads:

The Five Daughters of the Moon (The Waning Moon, #1)
"Inspired by the 1917 Russian revolution and the last months of the Romanov sisters, The Five Daughters of the Moon by Leena Likitalo is a beautifully crafted historical fantasy with elements of technology fueled by evil magic.

The Crescent Empire teeters on the edge of a revolution, and the Five Daughters of the Moon are the ones to determine its future.

Alina, six, fears Gagargi Prataslav and his Great Thinking Machine. The gagargi claims that the machine can predict the future, but at a cost that no one seems to want to know.
Merile, eleven, cares only for her dogs, but she smells that something is afoul with the gagargi. By chance, she learns that the machine devours human souls for fuel, and yet no one believes her claim.

Sibilia, fifteen, has fallen in love for the first time in her life. She couldn't care less about the unrests spreading through the countryside. Or the rumors about the gagargi and his machine.

Elise, sixteen, follows the captain of her heart to orphanages and workhouses. But soon she realizes that the unhappiness amongst her people runs much deeper that anyone could have ever predicted.

And Celestia, twenty-two, who will be the empress one day. Lately, she's been drawn to the gagargi. But which one of them was the first to mention the idea of a coup?"

This is a historical fantasy that sounds like nothing I've ever read, and I love the idea of a Russian revolution/Romanov setting. Each sister sounds like they'll bring something really interesting to this book, and I really can't wait to read it! I'm also not sure whether I like that cover or not, but it sure is haunting.

What do you think about this upcoming release? What are your anticipated upcoming releases?

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Tell Me Something Tuesday: How Do You Handle DNF Books?

Tell Me Something Tuesday is a weekly discussion post hosted by Rainy Day Ramblings where a wide range of topics from books to blogging are discussed. Weigh in and join the conversation by adding your thoughts in the comments. If you want to do your own post, grab the question and answer it on your blog.

This week's discussion question is:

(note: for anyone who does not know, DNF = 'did not finish')

We've all (probably) been there: you've just started a book and it's not grabbing you yet, so you tell yourself to just hold on, maybe it'll get better -- but it doesn't. Then comes the question: push yourself and finish it or just give it up? Some people have no qualms with putting down a book, and some people hate doing that so much that they just push through. There is no right or wrong way, so I think DNFs are always an interesting discussion!

Personally, I will DNF a book if I am just not feeling it. I definitely try to push myself and give any book as much benefit of the doubt as possible, but sometimes it just doesn't happen. Or it even happens that sometimes a book might not actually be something I don't like, but it just doesn't fit my current mood, so I have to put it down and promise to come back to it later.

Where DNFs gets really tricky is when it comes to advanced review copies/galleys. If you have agreed to read and review a book, does that change how you feel about not finishing it? Do you feel obligated to finish a book? For me, I always try to finish any book that I have explicitly said I will read and review. Fortunately, I've not had many issues where I haven't wanted to finish a book I've agreed to review, and that's probably partly because I try really hard to screen the books that are offered for me to review.

Another area that lends itself to intense consternation regarding DNFs  is whether or not to review them in general. I usually like to leave a review for DNF books in order to explain why I didn't like it or what went wrong. This way others can still see your thoughts and also whether or not this is an issue that might bother them or if it's something that they, in contrast, love to see in a book. However, I also don't think it's vital to leave a review, because if I didn't want to spend time reading the book, I might not want to spend time leaving a review. It really just depends on the situations and reasons why I DNF a book.

But in the end, I think it's important to realize that we can't necessarily love every book we pick up, and that's okay! There are far too many fantastic books to read out there to waste time reading something you don't enjoy.

So now I pose the same question to you: What do you concerning DNF books? Do you have any problems with not finishing a book? Do you review them or feel obligated to finish ARCs? Let me know below!

Monday, May 29, 2017

Anne Bonnie Volume #1: The Journey Begins by Tim Yates

Anne Bonnie #1: The Journey Begins by Tim Yates. Blue Juice Comics, 2014. 180 pages.

Hands down, this was easily one of the most entertaining and enjoyable things I've read this year. 

This is a fast-paced, not overly serious comic series of a young girl named Ariana who wants nothing more than to be a pirate on her own ship like all of the pirate legends she's grown up hearing about. And because of this passion, she gets into more than a bit of trouble on the high seas. Right off the bat, you know that this is going to be a great adventure, and it doesn't disappoint.

Ariana is someone you can't help but love. She's crazy and makes some rather impulsive decisions that can be frustrating, but it's also what makes her so endearing -- and also what makes us wish we could be more like: someone who takes risks and lives life to its fullest, even if it might not always go our way. 

The additional characters, such as Shen Kenoshi, Mary Reed, and Finn, are all wonderful additions and only serve to make this story pop even more. I loved that it was such a diverse cast not only in appearance but also in personality. Ariana is loud, outgoing, and rash, whereas Kenoshi is more thoughtful and knows when things should be kept quiet. Finn is also on the quieter side and less sure of himself, but still a strong character in his own right who is quite charming. Another character I loved was Mary Reed, who is a wonderfully badass woman who you can't help but love for her strength and dominating force. 

In addition to the wonderful characters and exciting plot were the beautiful illustrations, which I loved. There is something so easy and relaxed about them, and I found the bright, vibrant colors to add an even more pleasant addition the this adventure story. The personality of each character was rendered brilliantly, and it is obvious that Yates knows what he's doing. 

This comic seems incredible age-less to me. As an adult, I love this, and I can also see teens and even younger kids enjoying this as well. I don't really know what the target audience is supposed to be for this one, but I definitely see this as appealing to any adventure-lover.

Anne Bonnie is a blast, and I cannot recommend this one enough to anyone who loves pirates, adventures, or characters that are full of personality. Overall, I'm giving Anne Bonnie five stars! I can't wait to read more -- and stay tuned for more Blue Juice Comic reviews coming soon!

*I received a copy of Anne Bonnie courtesy of Blue Juice Comics; this is no way influences my review.*

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Friday, May 26, 2017

Memorial Day Reading Recommendations

This Monday is Memorial Day here in the states, a day in which we honor, celebrate, and remember the brave men and women who have served in our armed forces. To commemorate the occasion, I have put togethe a small array of books that feature members of the military.

The Things They CarriedThe Outside LandsMatterhornA Farewell To Arms

The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien: This will always remain one of my favorite books. This book is a series of short stories (which I definitely somehow didn't realize when I first read this as a freshman in high school!) of a man's experienced during the Vietnam War. 
The Outside Lands by Hannah Kohler (review): If you want historical fiction that focuses on both the war itself and those back home, then this is a great one set during the Vietnam War. 
Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes: Another fantastic Vietnam War novel that I cannot recommend enough.
A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway: This is, of course, a classic novel of an American soldier during World War I. I actually haven't this one because I'm not a huge fan of Hemingway (I'm sorry), but I had to include such a well-loved book.

Consequence: A MemoirThank You for Your ServiceThe Barracks ThiefSlaughterhouse-Five

Consequence by Eric Fair (review): Consequence isn't an overly positive, light-hearted book (though what books about war are?), but it is a fascinating, must-read account of an Army translator who becomes involved with interrogations in Iraq. 
Thank You For Your Service by David Finkel: This one is slightly more modern and consists of a collection of short stories about soldiers in Baghdad from 2007-2008.
The Barracks Thief by Tobias Wolff: This is a short novella one set during the Vietnam War, and also yet another fascinating story.
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut: I'll be honest: I'm not a huge Vonnegut fan, but I won't deny that is indeed a classic in the field of war books. Slaughterhouse-Five is an "absurdist science fiction" of an American prisoner of war in Dresden, Germany.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Confessions of an Accidental Zoo Curator by Annette Libeskind Berkovits

Confessions of an Accidental Zoo Curator by Annette Libeskind Berkovits. Tenth Planet Press, 2017. 

Confessions of an Accidental Zoo Curator was such a surprising and unexpected book that I wasn't sure how I felt about it at first. However, as I continued reading and then continued reflect on everything I read, I realize that this truly is a fascinating, informative book about the development of zoo conservation and education, and more specifically about an incredible woman's life.

Berkovits introduces us to her life and guides us through her many life changes and experiences in an engaging manner with humor, honesty, and graceful writing. Her personality shines through her words, and I was captured by her insightful and detailed storytelling.

I loved Berkovits' passion. I could feel her determination, strength, and love for her family and work with every word she wrote. I felt that this book had a good balance of both her personal family life -  from her birth in Kyrgyzstan to details about her family members - and her professional life. Her passion for learning and education is seen at an early age, and I enjoyed reading about her progression to her eventual career. She comes across as a sort of woman who is easy to admire, as she both faced and surpassed many different obstacles ranging from her own personal self-doubt and struggles to issues such as sexism and learning how to work in an unfamiliar environment. 

What surprised me the most about Berkovits was the fact that she didn't really have a very animal-heavy childhood, and she didn't really seem to be the extreme animal lover that one expects of anyone involved with zoos. I had expected this book to focus more on the animals themselves, but Berkovits focuses more on the conservation education aspect, which proved to be extremely interesting. Zoo-based wildlife conservation is not something I think about very often, so I really enjoyed learning about this from a woman who has based her life and career around this topic.

There has been a bit of controversy over zoos and some wildlife conservation in recent times, and I think Berkovits does a wonderful job explaining both her and zoo members' goals of protecting, saving, and bringing awareness to others about the purpose of zoos and how they hope to benefit the animals that they care for. Although I did enjoy learning as much as I did, I did think that this book would focus a bit more on the animals themselves, so that was slightly disappointing. Her writing style captures you, but is also a time a bit brief, which left me wanting to hear more about certain aspects of her life. 

Overall, I have given Confessions of an Accidental Zoo Curator four stars! If you are at all interested in zoos, wildlife conservation, or if you simply enjoy reading about interesting and successful women, I highly encourage you to check this one out.

About the Author:
Annette Libeskind Berkovits was born in Kyrgyzstan and grew up in postwar Poland and the fledgling state of Israel before coming to America at age sixteen. In her three-decade career with the Wildlife Conservation Society in New York, she spearheaded the institution’s nationwide and worldwide science education programs. Her achievements include the first-ever agreement to bring environmental education to China’s schools. The National Science Foundation has recognized her outstanding leadership in the field.


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday: Strange Practice by Vivian Shaw

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights exciting upcoming releases that we can't wait to be released!

This week's upcoming book spotlight is:
Strange Practice by Vivian Shaw
Publication Date: July 25th, 2017

From Goodreads:

Strange Practice (Dr. Greta Helsing, #1)
"Meet Greta Helsing, fast-talking doctor to the undead. Keeping the supernatural community not-alive and well in London has been her family's specialty for generations.

Greta Helsing inherited the family's highly specialized, and highly peculiar, medical practice. In her consulting rooms, Dr. Helsing treats the undead for a host of ills - vocal strain in banshees, arthritis in barrow-wights, and entropy in mummies. Although barely making ends meet, this is just the quiet, supernatural-adjacent life Greta's been groomed for since childhood.

Until a sect of murderous monks emerges, killing human and undead Londoners alike. As terror takes hold of the city, Greta must use her unusual skills to stop the cult if she hopes to save her practice, and her life."

I'm not usually drawn to stories with 'find out who the killer who is' as the main plot unless it is in addition to some other interesting storylines. In this case,  being a doctor for the undead seems to fit that 'interesting storyline' bill pretty well, and I'm intrigued! I have no idea what to expect from this book, but the fact that it is such a weird storyline completely grabs me.

What do you think about this upcoming release? What are your anticipated upcoming releases?

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday: China Dolls by Lisa See

First Chapter Tuesday is hosted every Tuesday by Diane over at Bibiophile by the Sea. Join the fun by making your own post and linking up over at Diane's blog, or simple check it out to find more new books to read!

This week I've chosen to feature China Dolls by Lisa See! I'm about three-quarters of the way through and have been really enjoying this book about three women set in 1940s San Francisco and the many struggles they face as Chinese American and Japanese American citizens. So far, I have found this entire book to be extremely difficult to put down and am really enjoying so far. 

China Dolls by Lisa See

China Dolls

Part One: The Sun
 October 1938–July 1940 
 A Measly Girl

"I traveled west—-alone—-on the cheapest bus routes I could find. Every mile took me farther from Plain City, Ohio, where I’d been a flyspeck on the wallpaper of small--town life. Each new state I passed through loosened another rope around my heart, my legs, my arms, yet my whole body ached and I couldn’t shake my vertigo. I lived on aspirin, crackers, and soda pop. I cried and cried and cried. On the eighth day, California. Many hours after crossing the boundary,I got off the bus and pulled my sweater a little more tightly around me. I expected sun and warmth, but on that October afternoon, fog hung over San Francisco, damp, and shockingly cold.

Picking up my suitcase, I left the bus station and started to walk. The receptionists at the cheap hotels I visited told me they were full. “Go to Chinatown,” they suggested. “You can get a room there.” I had no idea where Chinatown was, so that didn’t help me. And I’ll say this about San Francisco: lots of hills, water on practically every side, and, it seemed to me, not a single street ran purely in any one direction. Finally, a man at a fleabag took my money—adollar a day, in advance—and gave me a key to a room."

What do you think? Would you keep reading this? (And feel free to join in and make your own post!) 
If you're enticed by this chapter, be sure to check out the full synopsis on Goodreads!

*Excerpt taken from the novel itself; I do not claim to own any part of the excerpt.

Monday, May 22, 2017

The Empire's Ghost by Isabelle Steiger

*The Empire's Ghost is now available!*

The Empire's Ghost
The Empire's Ghost by Isabelle Steiger. Thomas Dunne Books, 2017. Hardcover. 432 pages.

Although The Empire's Ghost is only a little over 400 pages, it took me an exceptionally long time to read this book. I think reading this book slowly really enhanced my enjoyment of it, especially because now I find it disappointing not to have this book as my go-to on my Kindle to read for when I'm at university or on the go - it become such a companion to me. But I digress, let's move on to the review!

The Empire's Ghost is the first book in a new fantasy series in which the great empire Elesthene rose and at the same time ended the use of magic. (If you want a more thorough summary, I definitely recommend you check out the Goodreads summary, as it will provide much  more information.) Honestly, the more  I think about this book, the more I love it, and I definitely plan to purchase a copy of this book for myself.

The most prominent thing about this book, in my opinion, is that there is a lot of dialogue. That might sound odd, but it really is true. Fortunately, I found Steiger's dialogue to be extremely entertaining and realistic, and I really enjoyed it. I have never been a huge fan of extensive action scenes in the first place, so the amount of action  that was interspersed throughout this book was perfectly balanced. Plus, the actions scenes were wonderfully written, and every sword battle or confrontation was written with precise detail and an engaging narrative.

There is a lot of politics, strategy, and social play at work here, and I loved every second of it. The political interactions and discussions included so many subtle snide remarks and wisdom that I could not help but hang on to every word.

The characters in The Empire's Ghost are amazing. There is a wide variety of characters, which extremely impressed when I discover how distinct each character's voice was. Along with the many characters, there are also many alternating third person points of view throughout this book, and I - surprisingly - didn't really mind. Each character had such an interesting storyline and fascinating personality that I sincerely enjoyed each one.  I'm tempted to go into more depth about some of the characters, but trust me when I say that if I did that, this review would be far too long, so I will not do that for this review for the sake of brevity. (You're welcome.)

The worldbuilding in this book is subtle in how it is told, but strong in the way in which it draws the reader in. There is no info-dumping (yes!), and there really isn't much of an exposition either. It took a little while to get into the world Steiger has created in this book simply due to being thrown right into the world, but her charismatic characters really help to lead the way kept me interested.

The best part of this book, in my opinion, is the sheer depth of history of the world and the character backgrounds that are presented. The attention to detail made this book so real and I could not draw myself away from it. Steiger has also proven herself to be incredibly deft at carefully writing in twists and elements that impressed me immensely.

I can already imagine that there are going to be two main camps for this book: those who love it because they enjoy slow character-building and a plot that is mainly focused on settings things up, and those that hate it because it is too slow-paced. I'm in the former category and I cannot recommend this one enough. Overall, I am giving The Empire's Ghost five stars!

*I received an ARC of The Empire Ghost courtesy of NetGalley and Thomas Dunne Books in exchange for an honest review.*

You might also like:
Red Sister by Mark Lawrence
Kings or Pawns by JJ Sherwood
Kushiel's Dart by Jacqueline Carey
The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

Friday, May 19, 2017

Anticipated June 2017 Releases!

The fact that we're already gearing up for June releases is nuts, but also a little exciting because, as usual, there are some fantastic books coming out next month. I've gathered a few of the ones that have most grabbed my attention to share with you below. Let me know if you're looking forward to reading any of these or if there are any books not on this list (of which there are many) that you can't wait to read!

Beren and LúthienOur Dark Duet (Monsters of Verity, #2)The Lioness of Morocco
The Court of Broken Knives (Empires of Dust #1)A Gathering of RavensSoul of the World (The Ascension Cycle #1)
Dividing Eden (Dividing Eden, #1)Song of the Current (Song of the Current #1)Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore
The Fortune TellerAmatkaThe Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter
The Refrigerator MonologuesMidnight at the Electric

What are your anticipated June releases?

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Book Traveling Thursday: A Book With a Red Cover!

Featured Image -- 266


This week I thought I'd try out a new book blog meme to give some variety: Book Traveling Thursday!
"Book Traveling Thursdays is a weekly bookish meme hosted by Catia from The Girl Who Read Too Much and Danielle's Book Blog. The idea of this group is check out the list of weekly themes for each month in this meme's Goodreads page and simply pick a book to match the theme! Once you've found a book, explore different covers of various editions for that book and make a post about it.  To find out more, you can check out our Goodreads group!

This week's theme is a book that originally had a red cover. For this one, I chose:
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne Valente!
Original Cover Design:
 The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making (Fairyland, #1)
Other editions:
La bambina che fece il giro di Fairyland per salvare la fantasiaThe Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making (Fairyland, #1)環遊精靈國度的女孩 (精靈國度, #1)
Clockwise from top left: Italian edition, UK edition, Chinese edition.

I honestly think that all of these editions are quite lovely! My favorite is the original red cover design, which is the one I initially read. I think the red makes for a sharp, fun accent and fits the story well. However, I also find the green to look rather nice as well, though it simply reminds me of how later books in this series have varying colors. The UK edition makes this seem like more of a nostalgic fantasy tale, as the combination of the font and color makes it seem like a traditional fantasy from decades ago. It's a nice cozy, aged feel for me. And lastly, I love the twisty vines and mysterious blue/teal color on this Chinese edition! I do think that this particular shade makes the book seem slightly darker and more serious, but overall I still really enjoy.

What do you think of these covers? Do you have a favorite? Do you have a favorite red cover book? Let me know!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday: Soul of the World by David Mealing

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights exciting upcoming releases that we can't wait to be released!

This week's upcoming book spotlight is:
Soul of the World by David Mealing
Publication Date: June 27th, 2017

From Goodreads:

Soul of the World (The Ascension Cycle #1)
"A brilliant debut epic fantasy with a unique magic system and unforgettable characters.

It is a time of revolution. in the cities, food shortages stir citizens to riots against the crown. In the wilds, new magic threatens the dominance of the tribes. and on the battlefields, even the most brilliant commanders struggle in the shadow of total war. Three lines of magic must be mastered in order to usher in a new age, and three heroes must emerge. 

Sarine is an artist on the streets of New Sarresant whose secret familiar helps her uncover bloodlust and madness where she expected only revolutionary fervor.

Arak'Jur wields the power of beasts to keep his people safe, but his strength cannot protect them from war amongst themselves.

Erris is a brilliant cavalry officer trying to defend New Sarresant from an enemy general armed with magic she barely understands. 

Each must learn the secrets of their power in time to guide their people through ruin. But a greater evil may be trying to stop them."

Will I ever get tired of fantasy? No, probably not. This sounds like yet another fantastic new fantasy series debut, and I am really looking forward to seeing what this one is all about!

What do you think about this upcoming release? What are your anticipated upcoming releases?

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday: The Empire's Ghost by Isabelle Steiger

First Chapter Tuesday is hosted every Tuesday by Diane over at Bibiophile by the Sea. Join the fun by making your own post and linking up over at Diane's blog, or simple check it out to find more new books to read!

This week I've chosen to feature The Empire's Ghost by Isabella Steiger, which actually comes out today! I've just about finished my ARC and will actually have a review up for it next week. This is a brand new high fantasy series and I have been really enjoying it. 

The Empire's Ghost by Isabelle Steiger

The Empire's Ghost


The last time it snowed, Roger took a bundle of firewood and some biscuits to the Dragon’s Head.

The streets of Sheath Alleys were perpetually dank, as narrow and twisting as a guilty thought— and they inspired many, as Roger knew all too well. It was as if Valyanrend itself fled to Sheath to escape its past, to disappear into the shadows as so many of its citizens had done. For the city, at least, it was a lost cause. 

Chapter One

“You’re not feeding those birds again, are you?” Morgan called, and Seth started. He hadn’t realized she was awake. He tried to kick the crusts out of sight, but Morgan was already opening the door, squinting into the sun.

Valyanrend’s districts tended to be jumbled and haphazard more often than not, but the streets of Sheath seemed especially capricious, as if they’d been designed to make no sense.

What do you think? Would you keep reading this? (And feel free to join in and make your own post!) 
If you're enticed by this chapter, be sure to check out the full synopsis on Goodreads!

*Excerpt taken from the novel itself; I do not claim to own any part of the excerpt.

Monday, May 15, 2017

House of Names by Colm Tóibín

*House of Names is now available!*

House of Names by Colm Tóibín. McClelland & Stewart, 2017.  Hardcover. 272 pages.

*I received an ARC of House of Names courtesy of NetGalley and McClelland & Stewart in exchange for an honest review.*

For having the title House of Names, this book had very little names in it. And that basically sums up my feelings of this book: full of expectations that just aren't met.

House of Names started off with a bang, as I was incredibly impressed with Tóibín's gorgeous writing. I even remember remarking to someone that I was so excited to continue this book because I just had a feeling that it was going to be amazing after I finished the first few pages. Maybe I jinxed it?

House of Names is a story inspired by the myth of Clytemnestra and Agamemnon, in which Agamemnon sacrifices their daughter Iphigenia, in order to ensure victory in war. Needless to say, Clytemnestra is not pleased. I had heard so many great things about Tóibín's writing, and everything about this book called out to me - I mean, I love my Greek myths. There were many promising aspects of this story, but a majority of this book just fell flat for me. 

I'm not sure what made Tóibín take the turns he did in writing this story. What began as a vibrant, deeply emotional and captivating story somehow turned into a cold, detached, and overall uninteresting tale with characters that I could not seem care to care an ounce for.  Clytemnestra began as an extremely three-dimensional sympathetic, strong character, but somehow devolved into an uninteresting two-dimensional figure that seemed to merely be used a plot device. I also don't completely understand how she turned from distraught mother into evil villain - none of it seemed to flow in an understandable manner.

Then there's Orestes, Clytemnestra and Agamemnon's only son. Almost immediately after beginning Orestes' first POV chapter, I was bored. He had such little personality and hardly ever seemed to think for himself, instead deferring to his friend Leander and his sister, Electra. I just wish I had been able to care a little bit about one of the characters, but I just couldn't.

One other area that truly bothered me was how poorly rooted this story seemed to be in Ancient Greece. There was almost no mention of Ancient Greek lands, peoples, politics - anything. If I hadn't known it was an Ancient Greek story, then I might not have even realized most of the time that this was set in that time period.

Overall, I ended up giving House of Names two-and-a-half stars. I really debated giving it three, but based on how much I struggled to get through it, the small bursts of lovely writing just couldn't make up for it.

Buy the book: Amazon | BookDepository

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You might also like:
For the Most Beautiful by Emily Hauser
Helen of Troy by Margaret George
Cleopatra's Shadow by Emily Holleman
Ithaca by Patrick Dillon

Friday, May 12, 2017

Book Recommendations: Books Featuring Influential Mothers... Both the Good and the Complicated

Mothers are often portrayed in literature as having a heavy influence on their children, both in positive and not-so-positive ways. Since Mother's Day is right around the corner, I thought I would share some books that feature both positive, healthy relationships with mothers, as well as some of those that feature more complicated relationships with mothers. No matter what relationship you may have with your mother, it is always interesting to read about the dynamics of other mother-child relationships. My mother is easily someone whom I consider to be my best friend, and I feel extremely blessed to have such a great relationship with her. Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers out there!

The Secret Keepers

The Secret Keepers by Trenton Lee Stewart (Review)
I loved the relationship between Reuben and his mother in this book. I considered his mom to be the unsung hero in this book as she tirelessly works multiple jobs to make sure that her son is taken care of. In addition to this, she refuses to let Reuben see her complain about how hard she works, and she just continuously sets a great example. 

Flowers in the Attic (Dollanganger, #1)

Flowers in the Attic by V. C. Andrews
If you've read this book, you know why this one is on here. The Dollanganger children's mother is... well... questionable. Let's just say this falls under the 'complicated' category. And by complicated I mean neglectful and mentally damaging. 

The Confessions of Young Nero (Nero #1)

The Confessions of Young Nero by Margaret George (Review)
This one isn't quite as blatantly obvious as others, but I found the influence of Nero's mother extremely strong throughout this book. She is rather ruthless and extremely set up building both her and Nero's power and influence through whatever means are necessary, and there is a bit of questionable conduct between the two as well. Needless to say, I definitely think this is one of the more complicated mother-son relationships.

Little Women (Little Women, #1)

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Little Women is a classic that I couldn't not have on this list. The March children clearly adore their mother as much as she adores them, and the relationships among everyone is truly delightful. If you need some good mother-daughter relationships, this is the book for you.

White Oleander

White Oleander by Janet Fitch
On the other hand, if you want a slightly more complicated mother-daughter relationship, White Oleander might fit that bill. This story and relationship is told in such a beautifully crafted way that makes this book incredibly intriguing to read.

The Hate U Give

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (Review)
I couldn't help but add this book to my list because of how fantastic Star's mother is. She is one of the strongest, most supportive mothers I've read recently, and I was beyond impressed. The relationship she has with Star and the rest of her family is wonderful; she is clearly a loving, welcoming woman, but she is not about to back down from anyone or anything. Definitely pick this one up if you want to read about a badass mother.

The Book of Lost Things
The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly
Although David's mother isn't actually physically present in this book, it is her death really sets things in motion. I remember connecting a lot to this book due to the theme of losing a parent, and I found Connolly's depiction of David turning to books and fantasy to help him cope so realistic and engaging. This book is so much more than meets the eye, and I cannot recommend it enough. 

Gilded Ashes (Cruel Beauty Universe, #1.5)
Gilded Ashes by Rosamund Hodge (Review)
This is a super weird mother-daughter relationship set in a Cinderella-inspired retelling featuring a girl named Maia. What makes this one so weird is that Maia's mother, upon her death, made a bargain with the devil that anyone who harmed her daughter would be somehow punished, which essentially means that she always has to pretend to be happy in order to spare them from death. That poses problems when the family you live with generally treats you horribly. I'd say this fits the complicated bill.

Violet Grenade

Violet Grenade by Victoria Scott (Review)
I am going to say nothing about this mother-daughter relationship other than it is not good, and as a result of her early years with her mother, the main character now has severe struggles to overcome. 

The Secret of Dreadwillow Carse

The Secret of Dreadwillow Carse by Brian Farrey (Review)
Lastly, we have a beautiful, loving mother who inspires her daughter both in life and death. This is a delightful middle-grade novel. In this middle grade story, Princess Jeniah is forced to learn how to become queen at a young age as her mother dies from sickness, and this entire situation inspires so much hope and beauty. I highly recommend this book!

Do you have any books to add to this list? Have you ready any of these? Let me know below!

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