A BOOK : You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine by Alexandra Kleeman

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Whew! So if you are interested in a brain workout, read You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine by Alexandra Kleeman. I chose to read this based off of the So Many Damn Books podcast and goodness, it is quite the trip. ūüôā

I’d say You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine is good for people that like more challenging pieces revolving around idea rather than story. The first 2/3s is more focused on gathering your bearings and A’s slow descent into a different person, and then the last third picked up a lot for me as more things start to happen. Some things I liked:

– the relationship between A and B. At one point, A is asked, “Tell me, is there someone in your life who’s been sharing your life too closely?”, which essentially is their relatioship. The effects of extreme envy and how that changed A throughout the story was super interesting to me.

– B’s characer. B was such a grotesque character, but dang was she interesting.

– The overall discomfort the book gave me. Kleeman did such a great job with fully fleshing out this weird disjointed setting and getting inside of A’s not quite stable mind. It was a world where everything felt slightly off, discolored, and hollowed– at least through A’s eyes– and as a result it just gave that same feeling to me as I was reading it.

– The Wally stores. Kleeman took normal business practices, took them to the extreme and distorted them to create this really creepy store. My favorite part was the idea that the associates can’t really help the customer out by telling them where the product they are looking for is, but if you work the question the right way and you get the right associate you could get clues for where your desired item is (although I would hate that if that was real life!).

– On a side note, Booooooo C.

Kleeman is definitely a good writer with a bright [sorry, not sorry :P] creative streak!

Add You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine to your to-read list!

A BOOK : You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott

I’ve been trying to get back to writing for myself, and that involves responding to books I’ve read. I’ve started posting reviews on my Goodreads page, but I really miss posting things on here.

So.  Here we go again!

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You Will Know Me is an unstable book where you don’t know what the heck is going on– you just know *something* is. I liked Devon as a character– she’s the daughter of our narrator and is on her way to be in the Olympics. I liked that the story wasn’t told from Devon’s perspective, but of her mother. Her mother with all of these questions about her husband and the guilt of not being a perfect specimen for bother her kids. As a result we slowly got to see peaks into Devon– her real thoughts– as she is moving from kid to teenager, all the while dealing with this suffocating amount of pressure.

Drew was super creepy by the way!! I feel like he and Mr. Watts needed to spend more time together so they could take turns making wise, cryptic comments to one another.

There were a lot of things explored in this, almost making me want to read it again even though I have a ton of other stuff to read. If I were to read it, I would read it slower this time. Savoring the characters and their relationships and really trying to see them. My weakness with reading psychological suspense books is I get so focused on the plot– figuring out the who and why and the how, that I have a hard time slowing down to focus on everything else that is happening. And a lot is happening in this!

Read this now if you want…

-a psychological suspense
-you liked the unstable feeling The Girl on the Train gave you (if you read it) -a book with a hardcore awesomely interesting female character
-you want to see the darker side of gymnastics

Add this to your To Read shelf on Goodreads

Top Ten Books I Read in 2015

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Every Tuesday The Broke and the Bookish hosts Top Ten Tuesday in which they ask a question and you list your top ten answers.

Today’s Question:

Top Ten Best Books We Read In 2015
Originally I was trying to participate in #libfaves15 where librarians¬†count down their top ten favorite books of the year however I have learned I’m bad at tweeting daily so that fizzled for me quickly. One of the stipulations of that is it has to be published in 2015. I however am going to choose things published any year.
In order of when I read them, starting with the beginning of 2015….
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Red Rising by Pierce Brown
It was such awesome world-building and I love the undercover aspect of this. If you’re looking for great dystopia/sci-fi with underdogs, battle, and revenge read this!
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Gabi, a Girl in Pieces by Isabe Quintero
Gabi is one of my favorite characters of the year. This is¬†told in journal format and it just felt so achingly real. All of Gabi’s worries and insecurities and hopes and joys and issues were down on paper. It’s a girl who loves to write trying to navigate her way through high school dealing with terrible family stuff, confidence, friends, and romance. So good!
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The Family Life by Akhil Sharma
This just did so many interesting things. It’s a story about guilt and immigration and family. This also had one of my favorite “resolutions” of the year. If you have read it, that might sound weird, but I feel like it was just very much an echo of life in a way and for this that worked. A lot!!
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Becoming Abigail by Chris Abani
Well this book will wreck your heart. But goodness, gracious, if you love beautiful writing you should read this.
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Bones & All by Camille DeAngelis
I did not think I would have a book about cannibals on my top favorite list…. but this was so good! Love LOVE the main character and I’m not going to lie, but the ending is one of my favorites. Is it spoiler-y to say you like the ending? I don’t know. If so, I’m sorry!
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The Honest Truth by Dan Gemeinhart
This is a really sad sad sad sad middle grade book about a little boy who decides to run away to the mountains with his dog. It will make you cry.
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The Wild Girl by Kate Forsyth
Just so stinking beautiful!!
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Barbara the Slut by Lauren Holmes
One of those stories features a woman who starts pretending to be a lesbian so she can work at a lesbian sex shop. It’s an eclectic story collection and loved what it explored.
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A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
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Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
 Just finished this YA book this weekРWOW. I. Loved. It. so. stinkin. much. Cute and I started to cry in public as I was reading because terrible things were happening and I was that emotionally invested.
THIS WAS SO HARD.
I read so many good books this year!  I hope you did too!

A BOOK : All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

 

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Today we are talking about All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven. You know how after John Green got SUPER popular suddenly every book that was young adult and contemporary had a little statement claiming it was EXACTLY LIKE BOOKS BY JOHN GREEN?

Well good news! I’ve heard little blurbs talking about THIS book saying if you like books by John Green you would like this, and I think that is SUPER accurate.

And I’m trying to figure out what it is about this one¬†that seems like that is a very true statement. Because yes, in¬†All the Bright Places¬†you have two very smart seemingly very different from each other teens start becoming friends (and possibly more-ooh-la-la). You also have tragic stories mixed with humor.

On the surface all of those ring true, but that rings true for a lot of books that I wouldn’t say capture the same feeling and voice. Niven’s book speaks to that same feeling and voice¬†though. It is of course completely its own story….

[SUMMARY TIME.

Finch is notorious for his weirdness and how different he is. Violet is notorious for her popularity. They are on polar opposites of the social structure, yet somehow they both end up on the roof of the school at the same time with possibly a similar idea… the book is told in alternating view points as they navigate their histories, trying to live in the present, and the possibility of a future.]

So even though the core of the story is definitely different, what Niven seems to do similarly is to put to words the yearning and emotion in life when you’re feeling stuck physically and emotionally that Green also seems to do. It’s idealistic in certain ways, yet grounded in harsh realities.

I will say, similarly with The Fault in our Stars there is an interesting tension between the lightness of the book with the seriousness of some of the situations being discussed.

Is it fair to spend so much time comparing one author to another? Probably not. But I think that was my strongest review reaction– especially because is has attained a similarity that a lot of marketing people seem to be striving for.

So if you’re looking for something that simultaneously somehow draws from your happy and giddy emotional pool and your my heart is breaking emotional pool, add¬†All the Bright Places to your to-read list!

Heads up though- the book does discuss suicide a lot.

Top Ten New-To-Me Favorite Authors I Read For The First Time In 2015

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Every Tuesday The Broke and the Bookish hosts Top Ten Tuesday in which they ask a question and you list your top ten answers.

Today’s Question:

Top Ten New-To-Me Favorite Authors I Read For The First Time In 2015

One thing I’m so proud of myself is how much I’ve stretched my reading this year. As a result, I’ve read a LOT of authors I’ve never read from before. I haven’t read more than one book from most of them, so¬†there is a chance it was more of the author+the book that made them my favorite new-to-me authors, but I’m going to give me and them the benefit of the doubt. ūüôā

  1. Fredrick Backman. He has this unique way of storytelling that adds so much magic. I listened to the audio, and I just remember going on super long walks just listening to A Man Called Ove and it was the best thing ever.
  2. Lauren Groff. She wrote Fates and Furies and MAN. Can she write. She is fierce. In Fates and Furies she created this larger than life story that bursts out of the book and drags you into the complicated world she created. My coworkers and I talked non-stop about her for like a good month.
  3. Kate Forsyth. She wrote¬†Wild¬†which is a historical fiction about the girl who told several of the fairy tales to the Grimm brothers which were put in their Fairy Tale collections. Forsyth’s tone¬†reminds me so much of Juliet Marillier- beautiful and filled with hope, yet melancholy and so tragic.
  4. Pierce Brown. I’ve only read¬†Red Rising¬†by him, but I love his world-building skills and the way he balances action with taking breaths for the reader to¬†get to know the characters.
  5. Claudia Rankine. I love her poetry– how it feels like they stand on stable ground, yet still reaches beyond for symbols and metaphors. I like how she doesn’t hold back and how her words are so sharp.
  6. Haruki Murakami. Finally!! I’ve only dabbled in the out skirts of his writing, but I am closer to making the plunge further to some of what he is known for. What I’ve read so far is a lot more accessible than I expected it to be, and I’m enjoying what I think to be his personality shine through.
  7. Tamara Ireland Stone. I think she wrote my favorite YA book of the year that I read. The book she wrote,¬†Every Little Thing followed a girl with OCD¬†so closely¬†that the character sort of seeped into you. Her ability to get inside of the character’s head is so powerful.
  8. Lauren Holmes. I read her newest short story collection Barbara the Slut and I love how she lingers on the details. I like the humor and the commentaryРthe ridiculous situations and how she is able to make something small and seemingly mundane into a larger interesting part of a story.
  9. Chris Abani. Oh man, this man. I read¬†Becoming Abigail¬†by him and somehow in the span of this novella he just ripped my heart apart. He mixes poetry with fiction and it’s beautiful and he certainly does NOT stray from super hard subject matters.
  10. Anthony Marra. I read his short story collection¬†The Tsar of Love and Techno¬†and I like how he takes these little bits of threads and string them together for a larger message. I still haven’t read his first novel, but it’s definitely on my to-read list!

 

Top Ten Tuesday: 2016 Releases

 

I am going to attempt Blogmas again! For those that don’t know, it’s where you blog every day leading up to Christmas.

Why?

I honestly have no idea. But it’s a thing and a thing I want to try again, so here we go!

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Every Tuesday The Broke and the Bookish hosts Top Ten Tuesday in which they ask a question and you list your top ten answers.

Today’s Question
Top Ten 2016 Debuts Novels We Are Looking Forward To:

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Summer Days and Summer Nights – Short Story collection edited by Stephanie Perkins
Perkins yet again has lined up an all-star set of authors for a story collection!

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American Housewife: Stories by Helen Elis
The summary on this one starts great.

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Evicted by Matthew Desmond
Probably the most serious on my list, this nonfiction work seems like it will be engaging and extremely enlightening.

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Jane Steele by Lindsay Faye
This is supposed to be a really good retelling of Jane Eyre. Plus, that cover!

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A Fierce and Subtle Poison by Samantha Mabry
This. Seems. INTENSE!!!

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The Flood Girls by Richard Fifield
Someone RAVED about this on Twitter, and this seems like a romp of a book.

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Keep Me Posted by Liz Beazely
As an owner of a sister myself, I like sister books. My judging of the book from the summary tells me it will be a fun book, with a lot of heart-depth at the core, which is what I’m hoping for with this one!

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Eligible by Curtis Sittenfield
I really like Curtis Sittenfield, plus word on the street this is a really good retelling of Pride and Prejudice!

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Bookishly Ever After by Isabel Bandeira
This just seems like it will be super fun and cute! Plus, I’m curious how the bookish elements will fit with the book.

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The Year We Fell Apart by Emily Martin
The cover is what drew me in with this one– I’m a sucker for a good cover.

So here are just a few of the books I’m looking forward to in the coming year– a mix of classic retellings (4 and 8), story collections (1 and 2), nonfiction (3), YA (5, 9, and 10), and more humorous (7 and 8). It’s kind of daunting to be adding 2016 releases to my own tbr list. I feel like I haven’t caught up on what I want to read that was released this year, especially with all of these darn “Best of 2015” lists popping up causing me to add more to my lists. What a terrible thing ;).

Thanks for stopping by!

A BOOK : The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

22557272The Girl on the Train
by Paula Hawkins

Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She‚Äôs even started to feel like she knows them. ‚ÄúJess and Jason,‚ÄĚ she calls them. Their life‚ÄĒas she sees it‚ÄĒis perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

A compulsively readable, emotionally immersive, Hitchcockian thriller that draws comparisons to Gone Girl, The Silent Wife, or Before I Go to Sleep, this is an electrifying debut embraced by readers across markets and categories.

Image and summary from Goodreads

I am not going to lie, I didn’t mean to actually read this. I visited my parents house, saw it on my dad’s bedstand, and then spent the rest of the day reading his book. Because here’s the thing. Everyone got really excited about¬†Gone Girl and I really liked it, but I just didn’t like it as much as I wanted to, probably because of the hype conundrum.¬†The Girl on the Train is being heralded as the next¬†Gone Girl and while I figured I would pick it up at some point just to see the comparisons, I thought it would be later rather than sooner. Well surprise! It turned out to be a lot sooner than I thought.

Because really. Paula Hawkins just nailed it with characters and atmosphere. She drew me in immediately from the first chapter and I was a goner.

This is deliciously told from three different perspectives, but for most of the book we end up spending our time with Rachel. Rachel is unstable. Rachel continuously made me cringe and get an uncomfortable knot in my stomach. But Rachel is so¬†interesting¬†and she might have done something bad, but she doesn’t know and we don’t know and everything is this glorious mess.

The book is sweaty¬†and sticky and makes you feel sort of nauseous at times and as I am typing this up, I am realizing this does NOT sound appealing at all. Hahaha. What I mean is, Hawkins has fully committed to the story she is telling, and as a result the reader (or at least this reader) gets enveloped into this unbalanced world. And throughout the great character sketches and thorough setting descriptions and snappy dialogue… you just want to know WHAT HAPPENED?!?! WHAT¬†WILL¬†HAPPEN?!

So yea. I hope you enjoy it if you decide to read it! And if you have read The Girl on the Train, let me know what you thought!

Add it to your shelf on Goodreads!