Book of the Month February 2018 Book Haul

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I always love the beginning of the month because that means I’ll be picking out and sharing my reads from Book of the Month. As everyone knows, I’m a huge fan of this subscription. Even though I’m pretty broke lately, I’m still picking out books for my Book of the Month. I shouldn’t even be buying more books, if I admit.

But I’ve got my latest box and I can’t wait to read both of these books. Here’s a little more about each.

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

This novel was just announced as Oprah’s official February pick for the Oprah Book Club. If Oprah is approving it, then I’m definitely reading it. However, I picked the book before the announcement was made, so maybe I just have the same taste as Oprah does. Here’s more about it:

33590210Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive, and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. But as they settle into the routine of their life together, they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. Roy is arrested and sentenced to twelve years for a crime Celestial knows he didn’t commit. Though fiercely independent, Celestial finds herself bereft and unmoored, taking comfort in Andre, her childhood friend, and best man at their wedding. As Roy’s time in prison passes, she is unable to hold on to the love that has been her center. After five years, Roy’s conviction is suddenly overturned, and he returns to Atlanta ready to resume their life together.

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

I’ve been a fan of Kristin Hannah’s ever since I read The Nightingale a few years ago. That book was an incredible read about two sisters fighting their own battles throughout World War II. The ending made me sob like a baby while I was sitting on the subway. You have to give a book props for making me cry. I don’t cry easy.

34912895Alaska, 1974. Untamed. Unpredictable. A story of a family in crisis struggling to survive at the edge of the world, it is also a story of young and enduring love.

Cora Allbright and her husband Ernt, a recently-returned Vietnam veteran scarred by the war, uproot their thirteen-year-old daughter Leni to start a new life in Alaska. Utterly unprepared for the weather and the isolation, but welcomed by the close-knit community, they fight to build a home in this harsh, beautiful wilderness.

At once an epic story of human survival and love, and an intimate portrait of a family tested beyond endurance, The Great Alone offers a glimpse into a vanishing way of life in America. With her trademark combination of elegant prose and deeply drawn characters, Kristin Hannah has delivered an enormously powerful story that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the remarkable and enduring strength of women. About the highest stakes a family can face and the bonds that can tear a community apart, this is a novel as spectacular and powerful as Alaska itself. It is the finest example of Kristin Hannah’s ability to weave together the deeply personal with the universal. 

What did you get this month in your Book of the Month Club box?

Five justifications for buying two of the same book

 

 

I found myself at the bookstore the other day fawning over a copy of Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson. The paperback cover of the novel looked completely different from the hardcover (which feels to me like the latest trend nowadays). It was shiny and silvery from the foil and the title of the novel was bright and bold using vibrant colors. The book reached out to you from its little stack on a shelf of other great reads.

I had bought the book back last year during the Brooklyn Book Festival. The hardcover copy was a golden hue with kids running through a sprinkler depicting summer life on the streets of Brooklyn. It made sense for the novel and it gave the book a sense of “sophistication.”

But I stared at the new cover longingly contemplating whether or not I should buy it on top of the five other novels I already picked out. I didn’t plan on buying it because I already knew I owned a copy of the book at home. Being a person on a budget, I couldn’t justify a purchase like this especially when I knew I had the other book at home waiting on my TBR to be read.

What’s a girl to do? Consider the alternatives. There’s a million reasons why you would want to buy two copies of a novel. Perhaps it’s your first novel and you want to have the ones on the shelf at your local bookstore and not the ones the publisher gives you. But in my general way, I’ve found five really good reasons to justify purchasing two of the same book.

You forgot you bought the book in the first place

Whoops, this happens all the time especially if you’re a reader. You buy a book a million years ago and you’re pretty sure you lent it to that one dude that came over your apartment for a “sleepover” and ends up being a one night stand. You’ll hate that guy forever for taking your book, but you realize you need it again.

You buy and, lo and behold, you didn’t give it to that scumbag creep. Instead, it was buried deep in the back of your bookcase almost trampled to death by the stacks of novels you added to the top of it. So you’ll have two of the same novel, not a big deal.

You’re a diehard fangirl/fanboy and you need multiple copies of the same novel with different covers

I’m talking about those Harry Potter fans. Since this year is the 20th anniversary of Harry Potter, Bloomsbury Publishing released Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in four beautiful collectible editions in all four house colors.

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How can you resist buying ALL four of them even though you know you’ve been sorted in Ravenclaw a hundred times when you’re pretty sure you’re a Hufflepuff. I’m pretty sure that being 20th anniversary COLLECTIBLE editions, it would be okay right? RIGHT?!

You thought you bought one book and then Amazon sends you wtf?

I hate this with a thousand suns. You go on amazon or any other book selling venue thinking you’re buying one book, but then they send you another book.

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Oh, it’s the same book alright, but this is not what you expected. I wanted to buy the book on the left because of its gorgeous cover and I heard it was freaking amazing, but what I got was the book on the right. WTF!?

Perhaps this is a symptom of online shopping and how you should always buy books in real life, but that means I have to get in my car and drive to the store and put on pants. Why do I have to do that when I can get them online?

As you can see I already went out and bought the new cover, but come on!

When the book publisher decides to make a book in the trilogy not match the other books

Yup, this is another big pet peeve of mine and it happens a lot. A LOT. The first time, I let it slide because I was buying Twilight novels in Paris so that I can read it on the plane ride home. Those novels don’t match, but that’s okay with me. I decided to make that decision and I was desperate to read something on the five-hour flight.

But when you’re not strapped for time and you’re trying to collect the series, you want to make sure that each book looks the same. It’s so they all look lovely next to each other on the shelf.

LOL the joke is on you because sometimes publishers like to make your editions the more expensive ones and you didn’t think the cheaper one would look so bad.

It’s a frustrating life sometimes when you’re a book collector and you want everything to be precise and exact. Form over function, that’s what I always say.

You’ve been lugging around the 800-page hardcover tome of a novel and your hands are tired of holding it up

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Image from masculinebooks.com

I live in New York City and one of the biggest proponents of this city is that you’re basically a pack mule. You carry everything with you and you can never find a bag cute enough to carry around tome. I legit wear a backpack every single day and not a cute one.

Because we carry everything, it’s always nice to not have to add another big thing to that list like, say, a 900-page tome by some famous author who’s books have been a world-reknown series. So I used to buy all my books that were more than 500 pages long on my Kindle. It makes it super easy to carry my books without having to break my back.

However, somewhere at the midpoint of any Kindle-based novel I read, I get this longing for an actual novel for me to hold with paper pages that I can turn and feel the ache of my fingers trying to keep the weight up. Honestly, I’m pretty sure that my hands and fingers are stronger from holding up books on a crowded subway.

So what do I do when I get that longing feeling? I buy the actual book. But I justified this purchase with math:

You see, the average novel on Amazon is about $10 less than the cover cost. Kindle books are only $9.99 for most unless you’re getting one of those bigger blockbuster hits. So, if you buy a book on both the physical format and the ebook format, you’re basically buying one book. All that money would have gone towards the one book anyway.

Or you just tell yourself that this is going to be a good one that you want to keep an actual copy of for your future self to re-read.

 

I do hope you enjoyed my fun little post about the ways you can justify purchasing the same book twice. Have you ever found yourself in this dilemma? What kinds of justifications have you used?

 

June 2017 Book Haul

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I recently received some lovely book mail and I couldn’t be more excited about them. Two debut novels from two new authors means that the world is filling up with more beautiful words and stories for us to read and enjoy.

Flesh and Bone and Water by Luiza Sauma

Published by Scriber Books. André is a listless Brazilian teenager and the son of a successful plastic surgeon who lives a life of wealth and privilege, shuttling between the hot sands of Ipanema beach and his family’s luxurious penthouse apartment. In 1985, when he is just sixteen, André’s mother is killed in a car accident. Clouded with grief, André, his younger brother Thiago, and his father travel with their domestic help to Belem, a jungle city on the mouth of the Amazon, where the intense heat of the rain forest only serves to heighten their volatile emotions. After they arrive back in Rio, André’s father loses himself in his work, while André spends his evenings in the family apartment with Luana, the beautiful daughter of the family’s maid.

Three decades later, and now a successful surgeon himself, André is a middle-aged father, living in London, and recently separated from his British wife. He drinks too much wine and is plagued by recurring dreams. One day he receives an unexpected letter from Luana, which begins to reveal the other side of their story, a story André has long repressed.

Everything Belongs to Us by Yoojin Grace Wuertz

Published by Random House. Seoul, 1978. At South Korea’s top university, the nation’s best and brightest compete to join the professional elite of an authoritarian regime. Success could lead to a life of rarefied privilege and wealth; failure means being left irrevocably behind.

For childhood friends Jisun and Namin, the stakes couldn’t be more different. Jisun, the daughter of a powerful business mogul, grew up on a mountainside estate with lush gardens and a dedicated chauffeur. Namin’s parents run a tented food cart from dawn to curfew. Her sister works in a shoe factory. Now Jisun wants as little to do with her father’s world as possible, abandoning her schoolwork in favor of the underground activist movement, while Namin studies tirelessly in the service of one goal: to launch herself and her family out of poverty.

But everything changes when Jisun and Namin meet an ambitious, charming student named Sunam, whose need to please his family has led him to a prestigious club: the Circle. Under the influence of his mentor, Juno, a manipulative social climber, Sunam becomes entangled with both women, as they all make choices that will change their lives forever.

I think I’m set for the rest of summer 🙂

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June 2017 Book of the Month Club Haul

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I love Book of the Month Club. Most of my hauls from the past few months consisted solely of novels I collect from this subscription service. Reason being is that I don’t have a large budget per month, so I pay a subscription amount for at least one book to be delivered to me every month. But let’s all be serious, I never keep to my budgets.

This month, Book of the Month Club has got some seriously interesting novels and I can’t wait to dive right into them. You’ll probably hear more about these within the next few weeks, so for now I’ll just include the synopses for you to read and ponder.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

32620332Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one in the journalism community is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?

Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband, David, has left her, and her career has stagnated. Regardless of why Evelyn has chosen her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s Upper East Side apartment, Monique listens as Evelyn unfurls her story: from making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the late 80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way. As Evelyn’s life unfolds through the decades—revealing a ruthless ambition, an unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love—Monique begins to feel a very a real connection to the actress. But as Evelyn’s story catches up with the present, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

White Fur by Jardine Libaire

32025142When Elise Perez meets Jamey Hyde on a desolate winter afternoon, fate implodes, and neither of their lives will ever be the same. Although they are next-door neighbors in New Haven, they come from different worlds. Elise grew up in a housing project without a father and didn’t graduate from high school. Jamey is a junior at Yale, heir to a private investment bank fortune and beholden to high family expectations. The attraction is instant, and what starts out as sexual obsession turns into something greater, stranger, and impossible to ignore.

The unlikely couple moves to Manhattan in hopes of forging an adult life together, but Jamey’s family intervenes in desperation, and the consequences of staying together are suddenly severe. And when a night out with old friends takes a shocking turn, Jamey and Elise find themselves fighting not just for their love but also for their lives.

Theft by Finding by David Sedaris

David Sedaris tells all in a book that is, literally, a lifetime in the making.

32498038For forty years, David Sedaris has kept a diary in which he records everything that captures his attention-overheard comments, salacious gossip, soap opera plot twists, secrets confided by total strangers. These observations are the source code for his finest work, and through them he has honed his cunning, surprising sentences.

Now, Sedaris shares his private writings with the world. Theft by Finding, the first of two volumes, is the story of how a drug-abusing dropout with a weakness for the International House of Pancakes and a chronic inability to hold down a real job became one of the funniest people on the planet.

New Release: The Song Rising by Samantha Shannon

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OMG I don’t know about you, but I am a huge fan of The Bone Season series. If you’re just as big a fan as I am, then you probably feel the same way I do: why does it take a million years for this author to put out a new book?

Seriously, The Bone Season was released back in 2013 and then The Mime Order came out two years ago. We’re finally on the third book and from what I heard before the first novel came out, she’s got a whole seven-book series or something like that. I’ll be dead before that even happens!

But despite the time, I’m super excited about this book. Here’s a synopsis from the first novel to give you an idea of the series:

The year is 2059. Nineteen-year-old Paige Mahoney is working in the criminal underworld of Scion London, based at Seven Dials, employed by a man named Jaxon Hall. Her job: to scout for information by breaking into people’s minds. For Paige is a dreamwalker, a clairvoyant and, in the world of Scion, she commits treason simply by breathing.

It is raining the day her life changes for ever. Attacked, drugged and kidnapped, Paige is transported to Oxford – a city kept secret for two hundred years, controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race. Paige is assigned to Warden, a Rephaite with mysterious motives. He is her master. Her trainer. Her natural enemy. But if Paige wants to regain her freedom she must allow herself to be nurtured in this prison where she is meant to die.

So far, the novels have been extremely interesting. I even re-read The Bone Season when The Mime Order came out so that I wasn’t completely lost with all the people and the magical orders. Every book has been so riveting and it pulls you in and I can’t wait to start The Song Rising.

If you’ve been reading this series and not sure if you should read it, then check this out:

Following a bloody battle against foes on every side, Paige Mahoney has risen to the dangerous position of Underqueen, ruling over London’s criminal population.

But, having turned her back on Jaxon Hall and with vengeful enemies still at large, the task of stabilizing the fractured underworld has never seemed so challenging.

Little does Paige know that her reign may be cut short by the introduction of Senshield, a deadly technology that spells doom for the clairvoyant community and the world as they know it . . .

The Song Rising and The Bone Season series is published by Bloomsbury and The Song Rising was published on March 7th, 2017.

October 2016 Library Book Haul

I can’t pinpoint the exact moment I started loving books or going to the library, but I did. I don’t even think it had anything to do with the books, but the fact that there’s this public place you can come to and study, rent books, and escape from reality. Because the truth is that only a certain kind of person goes to the library and those people are the dreamers.

Scratch that, the truth is that homeless people go to the library because it’s warm and there’s a free bathroom.

But I go to the library or a bookstore or any place you can patron that has books because I’m just your typical book lover. I love to read books, be around books, and generally want to be a book.

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There’s a magic when you arrive. The air is musty from the older reference books and the temperature is cold to keep the publicly used computers nice and cool.

My childhood library was amazing. There were three stories of books all ranging from children’s to research and I remember spending my time from when I was really young (maybe 6-7) to when I graduated from high school there. I’d be a part of the reading program every summer and at one point wanted to work at the library. I ended up spending my lunch periods in high school helping out in the school library and putting books back on the shelf. I was that lame.

It took me a while to get back to the library mostly because there was a scene in the movie The Squid and the Whale where the young kid masturbates in the stacks and then wipes his semen on the spines of the books. That swore me off from those books for a few years. I didn’t want to touch nasty books especially when I live in the same city as the characters from that movie.

But I’ve managed to quell my OCD thoughts from what might be on those books and started to take advantage of the library system again.

All of this to say, I’ve got some great reads from the library and I’m sharing them with you now.

272461151. Siracusa by Delia Ephron – New Yorkers Michael, a famous writer, and Lizzie, a journalist, travel to Italy with their friends from Maine—Finn, his wife Taylor, and their daughter Snow. “From the beginning,” says Taylor, “it was a conspiracy for Lizzie and Finn to be together.” Told Rashomon-style in alternating points of view, the characters expose and stumble upon lies and infidelities past and present. Snow, ten years old and precociously drawn into a far more adult drama, becomes the catalyst for catastrophe as the novel explores collusion and betrayal in marriage. 

Ephron delivers a meditation on marriage, friendship, and the meaning of travel. Set on the sun-drenched coast of the Ionian Sea, Siracusa unfolds with the pacing of a psychological thriller and delivers an unexpected final act that none can see coming.

I was going to read this right after I finished Commonwealth, but I’m starting to see that maybe this one is a little too close to what I’m reading now. I might hold off while I get a palate cleanser in there.

268938192. The Girls by Emma Cline – Northern California, during the violent end of the 1960s. At the start of summer, a lonely and thoughtful teenager, Evie Boyd, sees a group of girls in the park, and is immediately caught by their freedom, their careless dress, their dangerous aura of abandon. Soon, Evie is in thrall to Suzanne, a mesmerizing older girl, and is drawn into the circle of a soon-to-be infamous cult and the man who is its charismatic leader. Hidden in the hills, their sprawling ranch is eerie and run down, but to Evie, it is exotic, thrilling, charged—a place where she feels desperate to be accepted. As she spends more time away from her mother and the rhythms of her daily life, and as her obsession with Suzanne intensifies, Evie does not realize she is coming closer and closer to unthinkable violence, and to that moment in a girl’s life when everything can go horribly wrong.

I’ve been going back and forth with this one. In fact, this is my second time borrowing this book from the library because I haven’t made up my mind if I should read it or not. It’s because I like stories about Charles Manson, but I don’t want to read about the horrendous acts he made those people do.

Coincidentally, my office decided to have a book discussion on this read in a few weeks, so I figured I’ll read it with the intention of going to this book discussion and see how I feel about it.

286868403. Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven – Everyone thinks they know Libby Strout, the girl once dubbed “America’s Fattest Teen.” But no one’s taken the time to look past her weight to get to know who she really is. Following her mom’s death, she’s been picking up the pieces in the privacy of her home, dealing with her heartbroken father and her own grief. Now, Libby’s ready: for high school, for new friends, for love, and for every possibility life has to offer. In that moment, I know the part I want to play here at MVB High. I want to be the girl who can do anything.

Everyone thinks they know Jack Masselin, too. Yes, he’s got swagger, but he’s also mastered the impossible art of giving people what they want, of fitting in. What no one knows is that Jack has a newly acquired secret: he can’t recognize faces. Even his own brothers are strangers to him. He’s the guy who can re-engineer and rebuild anything, but he can’t understand what’s going on with the inner workings of his brain. So he tells himself to play it cool: Be charming. Be hilarious. Don’t get too close to anyone.

Until he meets Libby. When the two get tangled up in a cruel high school game—which lands them in group counseling and community service—Libby and Jack are both pissed, and then surprised. Because the more time they spend together, the less alone they feel. Because sometimes when you meet someone, it changes the world, theirs and yours.

Ugh, I can already tell by the looks of this novel that it’s going to thrash my soul. I love Jennifer Niven and I was a huge fan of All the Bright Lights. Jennifer Niven has a tendency to hit some serious issues as well (depression, suicidal thoughts), so hopefully this won’t throw me into a panic.

274144344. The Lovely Reckless by Kami Garcia – Seventeen-year-old Frankie Devereux would do anything to forget the past. Haunted by the memory of her boyfriend’s death, she lives her life by one dangerous rule: Nothing matters. At least, that’s what Frankie tells herself after a reckless mistake forces her to leave her privileged life in the Heights to move in with her dad—an undercover cop. She transfers to a public high school in the Downs, where fistfights don’t faze anyone and illegal street racing is more popular than football.

Marco Leone is the fastest street racer in the Downs. Tough, sexy, and hypnotic, he makes it impossible for Frankie to ignore him—and how he makes her feel. But the risks Marco takes for his family could have devastating consequences for them both. When Frankie discovers his secret, she has to make a choice. Will she let the pain of the past determine her future? Or will she risk what little she has left to follow her heart?

I think this one will be the book I read next since it’s a little bit more light-hearted (ish) and not too close to Commonwealth’s plot. I’m actually really excited because I loved Beautiful Creatures and sometimes I guiltily re-watch the movie.

What about you? Do you love the library?

July 2016 Book Haul

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Back in June, I told myself that this would be my last book haul in a little while. Finances have been rough the past few weeks so buying more books felt like an extravagance that I can do without.

I honestly think I might have a problem.

I sometimes feel like I’m “deprived” from living in the city. You can’t honestly be deprived of anything in New York unless you’re actually deprived. I wouldn’t call myself deprived. I’m getting off the topic. I’m just saying that there are things that come easier to those who live in smaller cities….and have a car.

Bookstores in the city are great, but they’re always so crowded. The Barnes and Nobles are always dotted with homeless people trying to spend a little time in air conditioning or heating. You can also never find a place to sit and you can’t sit on the floor (I’ve personally been yelled at a few times because of that).

So when I’m in the suburbs of some town and I have travel arrangements, I make a trip to a bookstore.

Anyway, I found myself hauling back my haul from Florida to New York over the weekend. Here’s my picks:

  1. You Know Me Well by David Levithan and Nina LaCour – I have heard great things about both of these authors separately, so I’m excited to know what they can do together. This definitely seems like the “slice of life” YA that I enjoy thoroughly.
  2. Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler – Honestly, I picked this book up because it’s about food. It only has 3.5 stars on Goodreads and that worries me a little bit. Hopefully, I’ll walk away from this book with a higher appreciation.
  3. Dreamology by Lucy Keating – Oh this one I’m really excited about. The premise of this book is that a young woman dreams of a dude and he was awesome. Then, this dude becomes a reality. Sounds like my high school dream.
  4. milk and honey by Rupi Kaur – I was a little bit hesitant on picking this one up mostly because I’m not a fan of reading poetry. I did a lot of that in high school and reading poetry sometimes means you have to find some hidden secret the writer is leaving for you. I read a few lines before I decided to pick it up and I think this might be a little bit off the beaten path.
  5. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon –  For some reason, when I think of this book premise I think of that movie Bubble Boy with a young post-Donnie Darko Jake Gyllenhaal. Obviously, this book isn’t about that, but you can’t help but to imagine it.
  6. Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead – I don’t know how this happened, but there are some YA books I missed while I was in college and a lot when I was in middle school and high school. Vampire Academy appears to be one of them (I was too busy wrapping up finals in college and there was no booklr at the time).
  7. My Lady Jane by a bunch of people (Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows) – This book has been getting a lot of press lately. While it isn’t the most accurate portrayal of Lady Jane Grey, it’s supposedly hilarious and beautiful. I’m excited about this one for sure.

Now, I’m not a big fan of making TBR lists because I end up straying from that, buying a brand new book, and reading that. However, I will say that I’m excited about these picks and I hope to read them before the end of the summer.

Ok, no more buying books until Comic Con.