Sunday, February 28, 2016

February Wrap-Up

I am linking up to both the Sunday Post @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer and the Sunday Post @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction.

This month has been kind of blah. Not sure why really. I just have no motivation to do anything. I am trying to rise above though. Over the last week, I did start doing some beta reading for a few people. For those who don't know, beta reading is when you read over an unpublished manuscript and give a thorough critique. I am doing it for free right now, but I am thinking I will expand to a paying service at some point and also over some copy editing and proofreading services. Feel free to check out my Beta Reading Services page!

My reading has just been so-so this month. I have read a few really good books this month. But most of my books have been kind of average. I am surprised I read as many books as I did. I lost my reading mojo towards the end of month, probably because I wasn't reading anything super compelling. I am feeling a reading slump coming on. Hopefully, I can muddle through before it gets too bad.

I read a total of 21 books this month (plus one manuscript that I beta read for someone):
Favorite book read this month:

This one really isn't even a contest. My very first book of the month was my favorite!
Most disappointing read of the month:
This one was a little tough. While a lot of the books I read were average, I didn't read anything that was terrible. Crown Of Midnight was pretty disappointing in the fact that I was expecting so much more. I am giving up on this series. Maybe I'll get a lot of shocked reactions when I say that I just don't like Celeana that much. The first book in this series was pretty good, but this one was SO SLOW. The ending had a lot of action, but not enough to make me want to keep reading.

Reviews posted

Hidden Bodies (You #2) by Caroline Kepnes
Seven Ways We Lie by Riley Redgate
You Were Here by Cori McCarthy
Room by Emma Donahue
Front Lines (Soldier Girl #1) by Michael Grant
How Many Letters Are In Goodbye? by Yvonne Cassidy
Into The Dim (Into The Dim #1) by Janet B. Taylor
Ink and Bone (The Great Library #1) by Rachel Caine
Tripping Back Blue by Kara Storti

Top Ten Tuesday posts

Favorite Historical Time Period
Favorite Fictional Couples
Top Classics on my TBR

Other posts

Discussion: Stuff I hate to see in books
Discussion: Stuff I want to see more of in books
Discussion: Birth Control In Books
I created a new feature called Beyond The Books! Check out my first Beyond the Books post, as well as my second one.
RIP Harper Lee post

Also, I am hosting the giveaway for Nicole's February Wrap Up! Check back on March 10 for that.

How was your February? What was your favorite book of the month?

Thursday, February 25, 2016

BOOK REVIEW: Tripping Back Blue by Kara Storti

I received this ARC from Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review. The scheduled publication date for this book is April 1, 2016.

Finn is a 17-year-old full of paradoxes. He's a drug dealer, but he's scoring money to send his twin sister to Harvard. He's desperate to shoot up even though he's the most popular kid in Dammertown. He's a philosopher and orator who's failing all his classes. The only time he finds peace is when he's bird-watching. Finn's life begins to spiral out of control, until he discovers a miracle drug called indigo. Finn is convinced that the drug is the way out of everything broken in his life. But is it really as magical as it seems?

I am still trying to wrap my head around this book. Honestly, it was like one big, long trip just like the title suggests. Finn is a drug dealer who is trying to raise enough money to pay for his twin sister's way to Harvard. He's also an addict. I think the scenes where Finn was shooting up or trying to score were some of the best written of the book. The imagery and the descriptions of his cravings were just so vivid. Even though I have never done drugs, I could understand what he was feeling and why he was craving it so much,

Finn and his twin sister, Faith are trying to survive with an abusive father and a neglectful mother. Yes, this is yet another case of absentee parent syndrome in YA, but it serves its purpose in the story. Faith lost an eye in an awful tragedy years earlier. Finn feels extremely guilty, despite the fact that it was not his fault and it is this guilt that drives him to try to take care of Faith. The problem is that Faith doesn't want it. Faith and Finn are both freaking geniuses (the random facts that Finn would spout were kind of awesome), but the difference is that Faith doesn't hide from her intelligence. She wants to do something with her life, but she doesn't want to use her brother's drug money to do it. It's admirable. Faith also has a business of designing her own eye patches. I love how she had a different eye patch for almost every occasion and mood. 

Finn is not without his share of physical scars. He has a burn on one side of his face from another tragedy that isn't revealed until closer to the end of the book. Both Faith and Finn were victims of their parents' abuse and neglect and the whole twin thing meant that they were usually very in tune with each other. Faith was so worried about Finn and his drug problem. She kept trying to convince him to get help for his drug problem, but he doesn't think he has one. The lies that he would come up with to cover his drug habit were so elaborate and involved that it was obvious they were fake. I have known drug addicts in the past and it is kind of a rule that the more details they provide, the more likely it is that they are lying. 

Okay, so there were a few negatives to this story. One was the discovery of the new drug, Indigo. It led to the meeting of a girl named Stacy that he was kind of in love with (after five minutes) and then there was her cop dad and her grandmother and meanwhile, there were all these other drug dealers mad because Finn was in their territory. All of this just distracted from the main story, which was Finn's obvious drug problem and his need to take care of Faith at the expense of his own life. There were points where the story was dragging because nothing was really happening except for Finn dealing with the drugs. That part was kind of boring. And I felt like the end was wrapped up a bit too neatly for my taste, especially since it was about such a heavy topic like drug addiction. 

Buy/Borrow/Skip: Borrow this one. All in all, there were good parts to this book, but there were also too many issues that got in the way.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

BOOK REVIEW: Ink and Bone (The Great Library #1) by Rachel Caine

Ruthless and supremely powerful, the Great Library is now a presence in every major city, governing the flow of knowledge to the masses. Alchemy allows the Library to deliver the content of the greatest works of history instantly—but the personal ownership of books is expressly forbidden. Jess Brightwell believes in the value of the Library, but the majority of his knowledge comes from illegal books obtained by his family, who are involved in the thriving black market. Jess has been sent to be his family’s spy, but his loyalties are tested in the final months of his training to enter the Library’s service. 

A book about books!!! Is there anything better?!? There are very few things in life that make me as happy as a book about books. And yes, the destruction of the Great Library of Alexandria still makes me sad, so I was fascinated by a world in which that had never happened.

The pacing and the world building in this story was amazing. I was in suspense and I was hooked from page one. I can't think of any parts of the book that dragged or should have been left out. I loves the descriptions of the library and the city and all the magic that was involved. It was so crazy and intense! But seriously, the Library in this story is evil. Or maybe I should say, the people running it are evil. But it takes a while for Jess to realize that. People are allowed to access the books from the Great Library, but it is illegal to own any printed books or any originals. Supposedly, they do this for people's own protection. According to the Library, too much knowledge is bad or something. They basically just want to control the entire world and they do a pretty good job. And then there are the Burners, who destroy books on principle because they are against the Library. I get their concerns, but come on, don't burn the books!

Jess comes from a family of book smugglers. His dad runs a business where he sells original works to people wiling to pay a high price and of course, they always must be aware of the Garda and the risks of being caught. Meanwhile, Jess really LOVES books. To his family, they are nothing more than a source of income. But to Jess, they are everything and any destruction of them are evil. That alone makes him my favorite character ever. When his dad orders him to train to become a librarian and act as a spy for the family, Jess is overjoyed at the prospect of being around so many books. Who wouldn't be though?

The training process for the library is intense. You have to pay an exorbitant fee just to take the entrance test. But then the training itself involves a crazy amount of studying and riddles and tests that don't make any sense. The other characters in the training class are all awesome and incredibly well developed. There was so much diversity and the class was made of all different races and cultures, which was great. There were friendships and rivalries and it was all perfect. Wolfe was the cranky instructor, who I hated at first, but then the author slowly revealed a few of his secrets and I grew to love him.

There was so much action in this story and so many twists and turns that I was just biting my nails throughout the entire book. There was some romance, but I was a bit apathetic to that part. The good part was that the romance wasn't overpowering and wasn't a huge part of the plot. The bad part was that the relationship felt a little too forced and too rushed for my liking. But I still loved his romantic interest, so it was all good.

The book didn't exactly end on a cliffhanger, but it was still left a bit open ended. I am SO EXCITED for the sequel!! I can't wait to see what happens next with Jess.

Buy/Borrow/Skip: Buy this one!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday - Classics That Are On My TBR, But Are Too Intimidating To Read

This is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. They feature a different top ten list every week. This week's topic is supposed to be the top books I read outside of m comfort zone, but I am a rebel so I changed it just a bit.

The thing is that I don't have a specific genre I would consider outside my comfort zone. Even though I have my favorite genre, I have pretty much read and loved something from every single genre (with the exception of graphic novels). I think the type of book that comes closest to something I don't suavely enjoy involves the classics. Maybe it's the language or the fact that there is not a lot of action, but I don't read a lot of them or enjoy a lot of them (with the exception of Jane Eyre

This is a list of the top classics I would love to read, but I am too intimidated to read. (All of these books are on my Kindle, so hopefully that will mean my chances of actually reading these one day are pretty high.)
1. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

2. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

3. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

4. Emma by Jane Austen

5. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

6. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton

7. Walden by Henry David Thoreau

8. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

9. Moby Dick by Herman Melville

10. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

Are there any classics you are too intimidated to read? Any on this list that you love?

Monday, February 22, 2016

RIP Harper Lee

The world has lost an incredible talent in Harper Lee. To Kill A Mockingbird remains one of my favorite books of all time. It was one of my favorite books that I had to read in school and it was one of the books that led to my love of reading.

She was an amazing writer and I was in awe of her talent. Rest in peace Harper Lee.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Beyond The Books #2

Welcome to another installment of Beyond the Books, where I talk about things that I have been loving this week!

1. Currently reading

Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass #2) by Sarah J. Maas
I have to be honest guys. I am not loving this one. Throw of Glass was a bit slow, but still good and I ended up enjoying it. But this one is just boring. Too many subplots. Sorry, but it will take a lot to get me to continue reading this series. I have been reading this book for two days and I am only 100 pages into it. That says a lot about my level of interest because normally, I would be finished with it by now.

2. Care packages from my family!
I asked my parents to send my husband some Ghirardelli chocolates with caramel (as a surprise) because he loves them so and we can't get them here in Italy. They also added a few other flavors as a surprise for me. And my niece and nephew wrote me some adorable letters. I love that my niece mentioned us taking her to Waffle House and Barnes and Noble next time we come visit. She loves food and books. Yep, we're related all right.

3. Grey's Anatomy, Scandal, and How To Get Away With Murder
I am so glad all three of these shows are back!

4. My dog
Yeah, I know we were only away from her for four days while we were in London, but I still missed her terribly. She is just so sweet!

What have you been loving this week? Have you read the Throne of Glass series?

Thursday, February 18, 2016

BOOK REVIEW: Into The Dim (Into The Dim #1) by Janet B. Taylor

I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. The scheduled publication date for this book is March 1, 2016.

When fragile, sixteen-year-old Hope Walton loses her mom to an earthquake overseas, her secluded world crumbles. Agreeing to spend the summer in Scotland, Hope discovers that her mother was more than a brilliant academic, but also a member of a secret society of time travelers. Trapped in the twelfth century in the age of Eleanor of Aquitaine, Hope has seventy-two hours to rescue her mother and get back to their own time. Along the way, her path collides with that of a mysterious boy who could be vital to her mission . . . or the key to Hope s undoing. 

Wow. If you had told me after the first couple of chapters of this book that I would love it, I would have probably called you crazy. Now, the beginning was interesting but was it engrossing? No. In fact, it kind of bored me a bit and I just found the story dragging. First of all, I don't get Hope's dad. Nope, didn't like him at all. His wife disappeared seven months prior to the start of the book, but they never found her body. Now Hope and her dad must accept that her mom is gone. The book opens with her funeral. Hope's dad already has a girlfriend, which okay, I am not going to judge for that one. But IMMEDIATELY after the funeral, her dad makes arrangements to ship Hope to Scotland to meet relatives of her mom's that she has never met so that he and his girlfriend can go on a cruise to Alaska. Really?? Who does that?!? That was so cold. Hope was adopted prior to her mom marrying her dad and her dad's mom was AWFUL. Seriously, Hope was a member of their family for more than ten years and apparently she hated her for some reason. Hated that too.

Anyway, it was all an excuse to get Hope to Scotland and that's fine because I LOVE SCOTLAND!! The Scottish Highlands are so beautiful and the imagery that the author created did not disappoint. I am just a bit disappointed that more of the story did not take place there. After what seems like an eternity, Hope learns about her family history of going back in time and FINALLY, we can get to the action. But eh, not so much. There is a lot of training and science and history lessons and blah, blah, blah. 

But then they got to twelfth century London and oh, I was so hooked. I absolutely love London and I loved the imagery of how the city looked back in those days. And man, Janet Taylor did her research! Everything, from the foods they ate to the language they used to their attitudes towards women to the lack of something simple like napkins, was just so rich with detail. 

Hope irritated me a bit at the beginning, just because she was afraid of everything. But she also suffered from debilitating migraines and I can relate to that, so I still loved her. And man, she grew SO MUCH!! She became so brave and so fearless. And how much do I want her photographic memory?? That was awesome. The people she went to London with, Collum and Phoebe, grew on me too. Phoebe was just so cheerful and optimistic and it was contagious. Collum was dour and serious, but still had a sense of humor at times. There were times when I just laughed out loud at some of their banter and their conversations. Then there was Bran, Hope's love interest. He was boring at first, but then he grew on me too. Luckily, there was no insta love, just some insta lust. I could handle that. Things got a little too intense for my tastes, but I still loved their relationship. There was something about Bran (no spoilers!) that I saw coming from the very beginning, but there were also a lot of twists and turns in this book. I swear, I just could not put the book down for the last hundred pages or so because there was just so much action. There were so many people to love and so many people to hate.

If you like time travel books, give this one a chance! It was so good! The ending was not a total cliffhanger, but it was open ended. The sequel will (hopefully) be out in 2017 and I can't wait!

Buy/Borrow/Skip: Buy this one. Yes, the beginning is slow. But it picks up and it becomes something great!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

BOOK REVIEW: How Many Letters Are In Goodbye? by Yvonne Cassidy

I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. The scheduled publication date for this book is March 8, 2016.

It's been almost eleven years since Rhea Farrell last wrote to her mother. It was a Friday night ritual - until Rhea's father decided it was stupid to write letters to a dead person. That was the summer before the accident. The summer before Rhea began to keep her first secret.
Now about to turn eighteen, Rhea finds herself alone on the streets of New York with nobody to talk to about the future, or the past. So, just like she used to do as a little girl, she begins a letter with the words 'Dear Mum' and tells her mother the things she can't tell anyone else.

There were several good things about this book, but also some not so good things. For most of the book, I was going to give this one two stars. But then I had to bump it up to three, based on a few things that happened around the middle and the end of the story.

Okay, so first of all, the entire book is told through letters that Rhea is writing to her dead mom. The synopsis didn't really make that clear, so I will just get that out of the way. Normally, I love books told in formats different from a traditional narrative. The issue I have with letters is that they are boring. Not always, I know, but they were here. When you are dealing with letters and especially letters to your dead mother, you expect some sort of emotion. But these letters were very cold for the first fifteen percent of the book or so. It was basically saying "I did this" and "Then this happened" so I didn't enjoy it. And I don't understand why Rhea instead on putting the date and time stamp on every letter. That's distracting. 

After a while, I got more into the letters, maybe because Rhea got more into the emotions of everything and I started getting invested in her story. Rhea's mom died when she was really young and she was raised by an alcoholic father. When Rhea was seven, she lost her arm due to an accident with a meat grinder. When Rhea is a teenager, her father dies in a car accident and she is taken in by her aunt, her aunt's boyfriend and her aunt's boyfriend's daughter. To top it off, she is struggling with her sexuality. When the book begins, Rhea is living on the streets of New York City and is struggling to survive with her friend, Sergei. In the letters, Rhea tells of her history with her family and everything that led to her being homeless. Rhea was discriminated against a lot because of her arm. Everyone assumed she was disabled and that she couldn't do anything. That could not have been further from the truth. The author does tackle a lot of important topics, like homelessness and abuse and neglect and sexuality and depression and alcoholism and even prostitution. Does that seem like a lot of issues? That's because it was. And this book is almost 500 pages and yet, it only takes place over the span of a couple of months. I think that was my other issue: the story was so long that it started to drag a bit. 

At first, I did wonder why she wrote to her mom instead of her father, especially because she didn't even remember her mom. But I think it was because she kind of idealized her mom and could imagine how her life would have turned out if her mom had not died. Part of the reason I grew to like this book was because of all the character development and her realization about who her mom was and who she was. She ended up working at a summer camp for homeless kids and that was my favorite part of the book because Rhea learned way more than the kids did. At the beginning of the summer, she hated everything about the camp and its rules and the head counselor (Jean), but by the end of the summer, she had completely turned around. There were so many things that happened over the course of that summer and I ended up tearing up more than once.

This book had a few issues, but it ended up being very moving.

Buy/Borrow/Skip: I would recommend skipping this one.

Monday, February 15, 2016

DISCUSSION: Birth Control in Books

Let’s talk about sex.
Specifically, let’s talk about birth control.

It’s a normal part of life, right? Or at least, it should be.

I have read countless YA books with sex scenes (and many adult fiction ones as well) and birth control is rarely mentioned. Why is that? I know that many YA readers are adults, but there are young people reading these books too. Shouldn’t these readers see the characters have sex while being safe? Maybe authors think that takes away from the “romance” of the scenes. Or maybe the don't even think about it, which is scarier.

I know that authors want readers to engage in fantasy and escape and all that and maybe injecting a little realism spoils the fun. 
But it is possible to talk about birth control and condoms without ruining the mood. When I see birth control or condoms being talked about in ANY book, I do such a happy dance. I probably should have included that in my stuff I want to see more of in books post, right?

Here are a couple of books that do talk about condoms or some sort of birth control:
Wreckage by Emily Bleeker – IUD (this one is rarely talked about, so even though the mention was brief, I loved it)
The Chocolate Rose by Laura Florand - condoms
Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn - condoms
Seven Ways We Lie by Riley Redgate – Plan B contraception

These are just the ones that I can remember off the top of my head. I am sure others are out there, but I haven’t read them. Two of the books mentioned are YA and the other two are adult fiction. 

I really wish there were more! 

Do you ever think about why there is no mention of birth control in books? Do you wish there were? Are there any books you have read that do mention it?

Friday, February 12, 2016

Beyond the Books

Welcome to Beyond The Books, a brand new feature here at Bingeing On Books!
Beyond the Books is a topic where I will discuss things that I have been loving, but aren't necessarily book related. I will talk about what I am currently reading (and maybe a few of the books I have read and loved over the past week) but I will also discuss non bookish things that I am obsessed with as well.

1. Currently reading 

Ink and Bone (The Great Library #1) by Rachel Caine

2. London

At the time that this post goes up, my husband and I will be preparing to board a plane for a Valentine's Day weekend in London!
I really, really love this city and I am so excited to go back. We also have tickets to see Wicked. Yay!

3. Mexican food

Okay, this is probably one of the main reasons I am excited to visit London. I love Mexican food so much! And okay, Italy is great, but they don't have Mexican food. D'oh!! I am thinking that I may just have a meal of guacamole and churros. That's really all you need, right?

4. Piyo
I have been doing this workout for about six weeks now and I love it!! I have the knees of a sixty year old apparently and this workout is very low impact. It has no jumping and yet I always work up quite a sweat.

5. Voting
Don't think I am going to get all political on here. First of all, this is a book blog. Second of all, I would scare you guys with how much passion I have for politics. I am so opinionated. Some people take it as anger. I'm not angry, just very passionate.

The bottom line is that I am not going to mention who I am voting for. But I am so happy to live in a country where I am able to vote. I know there are many countries where women (and men too, for that matter) would love that chance. I also know that women were not always given the chance to vote in America, so I feel like it would be a betrayal to my gender to not vote. When I was younger, I didn't always vote in the primaries or the midterm elections. Now I know what a mistake that is. I am so happy that I was able to mail in my absentee ballot for the primaries from Italy. So if you live in America (or ANY country that allows voting), I hope you VOTE whenever you get the chance. Make your voices heard!

6. Me Before You movie trailer
Yeah, I guess this is technically book related, but I don't even care. I loved this book so much. Do you know how many times I have seen this trailer? Too many! It makes me cry every time. I can't wait!

What have you been loving this week? 

Thursday, February 11, 2016

BOOK REVIEW: Front Lines (Soldier Girl #1) by Michael Grant

World War II, 1942. A court decision makes women subject to the draft and eligible for service. The unproven American army is going up against the greatest fighting force ever assembled, the armed forces of Nazi Germany. Three girls sign up to fight. Rio Richlin, Frangie Marr, and Rainy Schulterman are average girls, girls with dreams and aspirations, at the start of their lives, at the start of their loves. For the first time they leave behind their homes and families—to go to war. These three daring young women will play their parts in the war to defeat evil and save the human race. As the fate of the world hangs in the balance, they will discover the roles that define them on the front lines. They will fight the greatest war the world has ever known.

Michael Grant is just as good at writing historical fiction as fantasy. I have read a lot of WWII books, but I have not read any about women on the front lines. During WWII, there were women who fought on the front lines in Russia and Germany, but not in America. Women still served their country as nurses and there were some women captured by the Japanese during the war. The mark of a great author is one who makes you want to learn more about the subject and as you can tell from my research, Grant has done that. Grant reimagines a world in which not only can women serve on the front lines, but they are also subject to the same draft as the men. Grant does an incredible job of weaving the stories of the real battle with the stories of these fictional women in this deadly war. 

The book has three POVs of three different girls. First, there is Rio. Rio and her family are still reeling from the death of Rio's sister in the war. Rio decides to enlist with her best friend Jenou, despite the fact that she isn't even eighteen yet. Rainy is Jewish and is looking forward to fighting and getting rid of Hitler. She is secretive and doesn't give anything away ever and she is looking forward to working in intelligence. Frangie is black and is trying to support her family. She also wants to be a doctor, but she is realistic at the chances of a black woman being able to be a doctor. All three of these women have different backgrounds and come from different places, but it is interesting to see how the lives of these three women start to intersect. The book is divided into two parts: there is the part where the girls are making the decision to enlist and are going through basic training and then there is the part about actual battles that the girls are fighting. 

The beginning is probably the slowest part, but it was still very interesting. There was already so much sexism and racism going on and this was before the girls ever even went to training. There was so much talk about how the girls should just be at home with all the babies they need to have. Annoying. The author does not shy away from derogatory words that people used back then: there were slurs used against Japanese people, Germans, women and of course, black people. The girls went through training hearing taunts and insults that would have made a lot of people quit. Man I just wanted the girls to show off the boys so bad. Girl power! There was one instant where Rio was doing pushups on her toes and no girl had been able to do as many as the guys yet. But then she did it! I was so proud of her. All of the girls were a bit naive during training. They all assumed they would be sent to do some meaningless clerical work after training and they all assumed they would not be seeing any of the actual action. Boy were they wrong.

The second part with the actual battle was crazy intense. Grant's descriptions were so vivid that I could almost hear the explosions of the cannons and smell the gun powder. Grant had such a way of describing facts of a real battle and you could tell he did his research about technology they had back then. But then he did a great job of inserting these fictional characters into this very real scene. All of the soldiers, men and women, were also very cocky and naive about the war. They all assumed the war would end quickly and that it wouldn't take much to get the Germans to surrender. Man, there was so much naivete going into this battle that I couldn't help feeling sad for all of them. 

There was one scene where Rio was shooting at soldiers. She was an excellent shot and she started to hate that. She was so anxious to get to war and get revenge on the people she held responsible for her sister's death. But once she started shooting, she started to realize that shooting a person in real life was a bit different than shooting a paper target in training. I also loved the scenes with Frangie. She didn't realize how hard it would be until she was in it, but she had to fix soldiers up even with guns shooting all around her. Even worse, there were soldiers who refused to let her fix them up because she was black. Rainy is such a freaking bad ass. Seriously. They tell her she needs to jump out of a plane in the middle of a war zone. Despite her fear and despite the fact that she has never done it before, she just says okay. I loved how the generals around her were underestimating her because she is a woman and yet, she was able to strategize with the best of them.

The one thing that worries me about this book is that there is no release date or title for the second one yet. The end of this book wasn't exactly a cliffhanger, but it was obvious that there is a lot more these characters will go through before the war is over. I am sure the next one will move a lot faster and I can't wait!

Buy/Borrow/Skip: Buy this one! 

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

BOOK REVIEW: Room by Emma Donahue

To five-year-old Jack, Room is the world. It’s where he was born. It’s where he and Ma eat and sleep and play and learn. There are endless wonders that let loose Jack’s imagination: the snake under Bed that he constructs out of eggshells; the imaginary world projected through the TV; the coziness of Wardrobe, where Ma tucks him in safely at night, in case Old Nick comes. Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it’s the prison where she’s been held for seven long years, since she was nineteen. Through her fierce love for her son, she has created a life for him in that eleven-by-eleven-foot space. But Jack’s curiosity is building alongside Ma’s own desperation, and she knows that Room cannot contain either indefinitely.

I'll be honest: this book has been on my TBR FOREVER ! Really, I was beginning to think I should just remove it because it didn't look like I was ever going to get to it. Then I heard it was being made into a movie and the trailer made me cry. Yeah, that was all it took. I just knew I had to read this before watching the movie.

This book is about a girl who was kidnapped at nineteen and held prisoner in a single room. She has a child, Jack and the story is told from his point of view. I don't know how the author was able to reach inside the mind of a five year old so easily, but she nailed it. But Jack isn't any normal five year old. He has never been Outside, he has never seen another soul except his mom (and sometimes the man holding them prisoner, who he calls Old Nick). His mom has worked hard to preserve his innocence, so he thinks that everything he sees on the TV is fake and he doesn't realize that there is a whole world beyond the room he thinks of as home.

The choice to tell the story from Jack's POV was an interesting one. There were so many times where you could tell as an adult that bad things were happening, but because they were told through the eyes of Jack, they were much more bearable to watch. I feel like if this book had been told through the eyes of his mom, this book would have been so much heavier and so much more difficult to read. It did take about 30 pages or so to really get into Jack's voice. It's not easy knowing what he is talking about at times. But I began to read between the lines with certain things and I was able to understand what he was talking about. This story was so incredibly emotional and I felt so much empathy for the mom. You could see her increasing frustration with her need to escape. At the same time, Jack felt no need to leave Room because that has been his whole world for all of his life. I could not put this book down because I was dying to know whether they ever left the Room. Beautiful and emotional and heartbreaking, this is such a must read!

Buy/Borrow/Skip: Buy this one!! I am kicking myself for not reading this one sooner. I know it's still early in the year, but I have a feeling this will be one of my favorites.