Hey there hi there how the heck are ya

Well hello there!

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It’s been a hot minute, friends, and I just want to start off by saying HAPPY NEW YEAR / 30th BIRTHDAY TO ME / VALENTINE’S DAY / ST PATRICK’S DAY / EASTER / SPRING! How the heck are ya? I missed you!

As you may or (more likely) may not have noticed, I failed at my 2017 book challenge. I failed hard, people. Not only did I not complete the totally doable list of 26 books, I also didn’t post (or even write) reviews for the majority of the books that I did read, AND I didn’t finish reading an embarrassing number of the books that I started to read. So yeah. Not great. But we’re well into 2018 and I’m back, Baby! What’s more: I HAVE been reading and I CAN do better . . . or at the very least I can update my blog. So, coming up:

  • The Autobiography of Malcom X as told to Alex Haley
  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
  • Bonjour Tristesse by Françoise Sagan
  • Call of the Wild by Jack London
  • Judging a Book by Its Lover by Lauren Leto
  • The Wonder by Emma Donoghue
  • The Revenant by Michael Punke
  • Girl at War by Sara Nović
  • Etta and Otto and Russel and James by Emma Hooper
  • One Day Closer by Lorinda Stewart
  • Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs

And now, for my next trick paragraph, I can tell you that in 2018, instead of tackling another challenge with my dear friend Rosie, I decided to join not one but two book clubs (and—unrelated, but a super fun time nonetheless—a choir) with another dear friend, Jessica. So I’ll have to review those, too:

  • A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
  • The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty 
  • The Ragged Company by Richard Wagamese
  • Next Year for Sure by Zoey Leigh Peterson
  • The Alice Network by Kate Quinn

Furthermore, because I’m a rebel, I think I can read whatever the heck I want to read whenever the heck I want to read it, whether it’s on a list or not. So you’ll be getting reviews for these, as well:

  • Blameless by Gail Carriger
  • The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrille Zevin
  • I Can’t Make This Up by Kevin Hart with Neil Strauss
  • Astray by Emma Donoghue

Finally (thanks for sticking with me, folks), as you may know, I don’t review books that I’ve read for work, but I do like to list them to subtly suggest ya’ll read them, too. So if you want to know what we’ve been working on, check out this page.

Fin.

Quoted: Etta and Otto and Russell and James

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We’re all scared, most of the time. Life would be lifeless if we weren’t. Be scared, and then jump into that fear. Again and again. Just remember to hold on to yourself while you do it.

Baby Driver

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Phenomenal.

There is literally nothing about this movie that I didn’t love. I saw it three times in the space of four days and cannot wait to own it so I can watch it again whenever I want. If you have not seen it, you should do that right now. Run, don’t walk. And when you do watch it, pay close attention to the music—it is so much more than a soundtrack. In fact, my wonderful friend Cailey, who is incredibly intelligent and well versed in all things Hollywood, told me that she would classify this as a modern musical . . . one where musical numbers are abandoned in favour of a score that is integral to the pacing, the choreography (not the dancing), the gunfire, and even the love story.

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

IAveyard_RedQueenf I had never read the Hunger Games trilogy or the Lunar Chronicles or the Mortal Instruments, or watched the Divergent movies or The 100 television series, I would most certainly have been blown out of the water by this dystopian YA novel.

However, this tale—about a teenaged girl living in a downtrodden society ruled by an elite race of [super-]beings with special skills and a fondness for killing for/as sport, who accidentally discovers that she is also special and is then thrown into an adventure that includes self-discovery, empowerment, battle training, a few unnecessary deaths, a violent stand off (or three), a love triangle, and an unexpected (yet totally expected) twist at the end—hits a lot of the same notes that all of the above series hit, which makes Red Queen just another iteration of a novel that I have read many many times.

That said, it is a very good iteration. I appreciate the world, the premise, the characters, and the pacing, AND there were approximately three “twists” that I honest-to-goodness did not see coming.

So, if you’re over this trend of YA dystopian novels in the vein of the Hunger Games and the Lunar Chronicles, you could probably skip this one. But if you can’t get enough of strong female characters in the vein of Tris and Clarke (and even Clary) who face ridiculous challenges and surmount incredible odds to fight for justice and freedom and to protect their family and their fellow downtrodden comrades, then, by all means, jump on the bandwagon and discover the spitfire that is Mare Barrow.

No. 16 on my challenge. The talented Victoria Aveyard was but 25 when this, her debut, was published in 2015. She has since published six subsequent novels in this series / universe and has two more on the way.