Thursday, June 7, 2018

Pride Themed TBR!

I had made a list of books that I wanted to read in June based on what I had out from the library and what's on my top-priority shelf of books I own, and I realized that I had unintentionally created a great Pride themed TBR for June, which was so perfect, I just had to pop-in and tell you about it. I'm hoping to write a few reviews for books I've read while I've been gone, but I'm not sure if I will or not. The second half of the year will (hopefully) be extremely busy for me as I am hoping to start my first year of teaching, so I don't know if I will be back to posting or not, but for the meantime, here's what I'm hoping to read this month.

To see what I've been reading lately and a few quick thoughts, you can check out my Goodreads.

Ace Representation
I've heard lots of great things about this YA contemporary, and I'm really interested to read it as the main character identifies as Ace, which is not often represented in novels. I'm not sure if this is own voices or not, but I'll be checking into that after I read it. 

Bisexual Representation
I'm currently listening to this one on audiobook and loving it. This is my first Gay, though she is an author I have been wanting to read for a very long time. So far this memoir is so honest and well written that I am captivated and just want to hear everything that Gay has to say. Gay identifies as bisexual.
Lesbian Representation 
I read and loved Water's Fingersmith last year, and I have been wanting to read another of her books. I'm in the mood for romance novels this month (summer does that to me) but I tend to get tired of the typical YA contemporary romance if I read more than one or two in a month, so I thought a Water's historical romance would be great to throw in this month. 
Gay Representation 
I'm also currently reading this one. I have been wanting to read this one for a very long time and have almost picked it up many times over the past two-or-so years and I finally decided now is the time! I'm really in the mood for a consuming and intense romance story, and I think this one will deliver. Baldwin himself was either gay or bisexual, and one of the only black authors to be open about it during the Harlem Renaissance, and I'm really eager to read his works.  

Have you read any of these? What are you reading this month? Any intense and slightly tragic romances to recommend to me? 

Monday, April 2, 2018

March Book Haul! (And a cry for science fiction recommendations)

The end of February was my birthday, and my parents bought me a few books, and I received some bookstore gift-cards as a gift, so March was a good month for new books! Here's a quick look at what's new to my shelves this month.
Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Bygone Badass Broads by Mackenzi Lee

Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer

Poems by Maya Angelou

I've been craving science fiction and fantasy reads lately, and science fiction is not a genre that I have a lot of experience with. I decided to use my gift-cards to buy Chambers' novel since I have been hearing really great things about that series, and I LOVED the movie version of Vandermeer's Annihilation so I thought those two would be an okay place to start with science fiction. If you have any recommendations for me, please let me know!  

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Recently Read: The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue

Author: Mackenzi Lee
Genre: Young Adult-Historical Fiction
Publication Date: 2017
Page Count: 513
Rating: 4/5

Add on Goodreads

Henry “Monty” Montague was born and bred to be a gentleman, but he was never one to be tamed. The finest boarding schools in England and the constant disapproval of his father haven’t been able to curb any of his roguish passions—not for gambling halls, late nights spent with a bottle of spirits, or waking up in the arms of women or men.

But as Monty embarks on his Grand Tour of Europe, his quest for a life filled with pleasure and vice is in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy.

Still it isn’t in Monty’s nature to give up. Even with his younger sister, Felicity, in tow, he vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt that spans across Europe, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.
 From Goodreads

I knew I would love this book back when I first read the synopsis for it, and I finally got around to reading it. I was hooked from page one, and knew that Monty was a character who I would end up loving. I loved the premise of this book and the execution. I will say, the plot of this book took an unexpected turn for me, when it turned into an adventure story rather than just a comedic "roadtrip" novel, but I really enjoyed that turn. 

The characters are all loveable and developed. I found myself caring about each of the main charactes as soon as they were introduced. The romance is sweet, but doesn't take over the plot of the novel, which I appreciated. I really liked Henry's sister Felicity, and I'm glad to see that she is getting her own novel this year. I will definitely be picking that up as soon as it comes out, and I'll be picking up whatever Lee comes out with in the future, as this book was such an enjoyable read. I found myself laughing out loud a few times in the story, and I can see myself rereading this in the very near-future, which is how you know I enjoyed it. 

This novel is worth the hype, and I really recommend you pick it up. It has all the elements of a great historical fiction that I love, great characters, multiple historical locations, romance, and travel, with the added bonus of humor and a bisexual main character. I really hope Lee writes more novels like this in the future. I have bought her nonfiction anthology on women in history, and will be preordering Felicity's novel (and probably stalking Lee on Twitter to see what her future plans are for books.) This was the perfect distraction from work-related worry, and a highly enjoyable read. Oh, and there's pirates. This book has every possible thing you could need! 

Happy Reading! 

Monday, March 26, 2018

Women's History Month: Nonfiction Recommendations

It's no surprise that most of the nonfiction I read is women's history or feminist related. Here's a look at some of my favorite in honor of women's history month. 
This book is full of so much information about what it is like to be a woman around the world. This book is not an easy read, it's quite heavy and emotional, but it contains enough stories of successful and brave women to carry you through to the end. It also has a great collection of resources for further information and to help you get involved. 

This is my first Steinem piece, and I loved it! I loved her writing and her ability to listen. She is truly inspiring and so smart. She's an author I want to read more from ASAP. 

I really enjoyed this memoir from female pilot Beryl Markham. She lead such an interesting and barrier breaking life, and I really enjoyed reading this book and reading about this book. After they divorced, her ex-husband claimed to have written the book for his wife, but it is now widely accepted that she did indeed write her own memoir. A great fictional novel about Markham's life is Paula McClain's Circling the Sun.  

 This is another great and moving memoir. I really loved listening to this one on audiobook, and I really want to reread it soon. Malala has such a strong narrative voice and her determination is inspiring. If you haven't read this one yet, you need to pick it up!

I found this read really interesting, as I knew almost nothing about the space program in the 60s. I found myself constantly stopping to look up more information and pictures of the people in the book. I do think this could have been a little more in-depth, but I thought it was a really interesting look at the women behind the most famous men in the Space Race. 

Men Explain Things to Me, Rebecca Solnit
This essay collection is very well researched and Solnit is extremely eloquent. Quite a few of the essays in this collection are shocking and hard-hitting. I really want to read more feminist essays, and I think this was a great place to start. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Recently Read: Truly Devious

Author: Maureen Johnson
Genre: Young Adult/ Mystery
Publication Date: 2018
Page Count: 416
Rating: 4/5

Add on Goodreads

Also by Maureen Johnson 
The Name of the Star
The Madness Underneath
The Shadow Cabinet 

Stevie Bell is obsessed with solving crimes, one crime in particular: the disappearance of an American billionaire's wife in daughter in the late 1930s. When Stevie is accepted into the boarding school started by the billionaire, and the scene of the infamous crime, she is determined to solve the mystery once and for all, but first, she may have a few other crimes to solve. 

Back in 2014 I read the first book in Johnson's Shades of London mystery series and I loved it! The next books in the series were less-great (though still good) so I was excited to hear that Johnson had a new YA mystery series coming out this year, but also a little unsure of how I would feel about it.

I really enjoyed this book! It was such a quick read. I read the ebook and couldn't believe when I finished it that it was four hundred pages because I flew through it. As usual, Johnson's characters were super loveable and interesting. I loved the dual mysteries and time-lines that were in the plot, and thought both of them were equally intriguing and entertaining. We receive information on the 1936 case in alternating chapters alongside Stevie's story, and I was just as invested in the past crime as the current story-line. I think the two will come together in a brilliant way in the upcoming novels.

All elements of this novel were high-quality including the mysteries, the characters, the setting, and the slow-burn and confused romance. I loved the idea of the boarding school for super-smart and creative kids, and I thought it made a great setting for a mystery. I think that this plot will really expand in the upcoming novels, as there is a lot of unanswered questions at the end of this book. I'm not looking forward to the wait for book two! I also loved all of the side characters, and found Stevie's classmates to be so interesting. I'm hoping that we will get to know these characters more in the upcoming books. There is a lot of natural-feeling diversity in the side characters, which is always appreciated.

I'm really looking forward to more books in this series. The end of this book had me trying to turn the page to the next chapter, and being shocked to see it was done. If you've been thinking about picking this one up, go for it!  

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: Spring TBR

Right now, I'm in a HUGE science fiction and fantasy mood, which you will see reflected in this list of books I really want to get to this spring. I've been craving to sit down with a long and super involved fantasy: problem is, work is taking up all my reading time and energy. Hopefully I'll find some time to dive into a few of the selections from this list during the season. Let me know where I should start! All titles link to Goodreads! 

(Need to reread Heir of Fire before diving into this one)

(Loved the movie, now I want to read the series)

(Will be reading this one very soon)

(High hopes for this one) 

I will be a happy camper if I manage to make it through some of these reads this spring! What are you looking forward to reading this spring? Any good sci-fi or fantasy recommendations? 

Monday, March 19, 2018

Women's History Month:Classic Reading Recommendations

Happy Women's History Month! It's taken me longer than I would have wished to be able to put some posts together about this event because work got in the way, but I'm here now! If you have visited before, you would know that literature and feminism are two of my favorite things, so I love posting about Women's History Month. I thought I would start out with a few reading recommendations in case you are looking for a way to celebrate.

As I was putting this general recommendations list together, I realized I had too many recommendations for one post, so I have decided to split it up between genres. Stay tuned for the nonfiction and Young Adult recommendation lists!
Titles Link to my reviews 

This is a great place to dive in to both Woolf and feminist nonfiction if you are looking for a jumping in spot. Although this was written about ninety years ago, it still rings very true and is very accessible for the modern reader. If you have an interest in feminist literature, this is a must read. 

Chopin is the ultimate feminist author. The Awaking is a feminist manifesto for women in every century. Chopin is clever and talented but also fearless with her heavy feminist themes in a time where they were even less accepted than today. 

Plath is one of my all-time favorite authors, and I am constantly in awe of the power her words posses. Her poetry leaves me speechless, and every time I read a poem of hers, I find something new to admire or ponder, which is really saying something, because I have read some of her poems countless times. Plath with always be one of the most talented poets that literature has ever seen in my eyes. 

This novel is a true masterpiece. I thought I would enjoy it when I picked it up, but I didn't know I would be awed by its beauty and power and go on to spend a semester completing two different projects on it. The genre of science fiction was created by a teenage girl, and I really don't think that is a sentence that is said enough. 

Maya Angelou is my ultimate inspirational woman. I love all of her works and various talents and forms of activism. I have been making my way through her autobiographies and loving each and every one, but her first memoir is my favorite. This book made me laugh and cry and I was completely consumed by Angelou's written voice, and verbal voice, as I listened to this on audio. This book is fantastic and should be read by all.  

I really enjoyed researching this book after I finished it. This novel's history is so much more interesting than the actual novel itself. This is not di Prima's real memoir, as the publishers were not interested in publishing the true story of a female Beatnik poet, but a fictionalized memoir that di Prima wrote to sell to the publishers to fund her poetry projects. I loved reviewing this one and talking about the story of how it came to be, and the reception of the novel. I've got my eyes on di Prima's actual memoir, as I think her life is super interesting. 

This novel was wildly popular in its time, but is now mostly forgotten. It is a long Victorian novel written by a female author about a female main character. It follows the main character all through out her life (Jane Eyre style) and is a classic example of the domestic novels that allowed women an opportunity to earn their own income in the mid 1800s. For more information on this time period of "scribbling women" check out this post on forgotten American women writers

 I couldn't make this list without including my favorite Austen novel! This novel is so funny, and all of Austen's works are so timeless. Emma is so irritating yet redeemable and really pushes the boundaries set on Georgian women. All of the Austen's works I have read so far are great, but this is by-far my favorite.  

This is just a small collection of recommended reading; this list could be pages and pages long. For more recommendations see my Women Writer's List for reviews of books I have read, and authors I want to read.