Categories
Review

Chosen Ones

Chosen Ones by Veronica Roth

Publication Date: 4/7/2020 – Genre: Adult, Sci fi, Fantasy

This ebook was provided via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you John Joseph Adams/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for allowing me to read this book.

Synopsis:

A decade ago near Chicago, five teenagers defeated the otherworldly enemy known as the Dark One, whose reign of terror brought widespread destruction and death. The seemingly un-extraordinary teens—Sloane, Matt, Ines, Albie, and Esther—had been brought together by a clandestine government agency because one of them was fated to be the “Chosen One,” prophesized to save the world. With the goal achieved, humankind celebrated the victors and began to mourn their lost loved ones.

Ten years later, though the champions remain celebrities, the world has moved forward and a whole, younger generation doesn’t seem to recall the days of endless fear. But Sloane remembers. It’s impossible for her to forget when the paparazzi haunt her every step just as the Dark One still haunts her dreams. Unlike everyone else, she hasn’t moved on; she’s adrift—no direction, no goals, no purpose. On the eve of the Ten Year Celebration of Peace, a new trauma hits the Chosen: the death of one of their own. And when they gather for the funeral at the enshrined site of their triumph, they discover to their horror that the Dark One’s reign never really ended.

Thoughts:

What happens to the hero of the story after she/he is done saving the world? Is it all glory, celebrity, and wealth? What are the ramifications of the decision to save the world and is it possible to return to a normal everyday life? 

I feel like Roth set out to answer these questions and provided the reader a glimpse into the life of one of those young adult heroes we read about who are thrust into the spotlight to save the day and after they do, the story fades to black with no further knowledge of what the character then endured as a result of the traumatic and stressful event of, you know, saving the world.

Sloane is our main protagonist throughout this story and, early in the book, we’re provided with a slice of life look into her everyday. Matt, Ines, Ester, and Albie are the four other chosen ones who, together, took down The Dark One and we watch the group experience addiction, depression, and PTSD. I appreciated receiving only Sloane’s point of view throughout this book as I feel the author could have attempted to write the views of each character but, for me, that just wouldn’t have worked. I felt connected to Sloane and understood her behavior from a deeper level, which would have been missing with a multi POV format. 

Some of the criticisms of this story describe slow pacing but that wasn’t my experience. I enjoyed observing the character’s lives after the descent of The Dark One and viewing their new normal. I’ve read lots of chosen one stories so I feel like I’ve seen that before, this after-saving-the-world aspect is new and interesting!

The slice of life doesn’t last long anyway and soon we’re thrust into a new predicament and our characters must, yet again, save those around them from dire circumstance. This, however, is a different take and a completely different dimension; think multiple paths, multiple versions of self, string theory and I loved it! The aspect of multiple dimensions fascinates me. I feel like the very possibility of multiple dimensions opens up unlimited possibilities.

It is possible to get confused at points, however if you keep reading events become clear. I thought the end wrapped up nicely. Actually, from the way the story concluded, I believed this to be a stand alone but, looking at goodreads, I noticed there will be a second in the series and I’m not sure how I feel about that. I’m excited to revisit the characters but it concluded so well, do we really need another? I don’t know. You’ll have to determine that for yourself. Let me know what you think of this one, as it seems there’s a lot of conflicting opinions. Overall, I really enjoyed it and will read book two to see how the story develops.

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Categories
Review

Untamed

Untamed by Glennon Doyle

Ten is when the world sat me down, told me to be quiet, 
and pointed toward my cages: 
These are the feelings you are allowed to express.
This is how a woman should act.
This is the body you must strive for.
These are the things you will believe.
These are the people you can love.
Those are the people you should fear
This is the kind of life you are supposed to want.
Make yourself fit. You'll be uncomfortable at first, 
but don't worry--eventually, you'll forget you're caged. 
Soon this will just feel like: life.
~Glennon Doyle, Untamed

Publication Date: 3/10/2020 – Genre: Nonfiction, Memoir

Synopsis:

There is a voice of longing inside each woman. We strive so mightily to be good: good partners, daughters, mothers, employees, and friends. We hope all this striving will make us feel alive. Instead, it leaves us feeling weary, stuck, overwhelmed, and underwhelmed. We look at our lives and wonder: Wasn’t it all supposed to be more beautiful than this? We quickly silence that question, telling ourselves to be grateful, hiding our discontent—even from ourselves. 

For many years, Glennon Doyle denied her own discontent. Then, while speaking at a conference, she looked at a woman across the room and fell instantly in love. Three words flooded her mind: There She Is. At first, Glennon assumed these words came to her from on high. But she soon realized they had come to her from within. This was her own voice—the one she had buried beneath decades of numbing addictions, cultural conditioning, and institutional allegiances. This was the voice of the girl she had been before the world told her who to be. Glennon decided to quit abandoning herself and to instead abandon the world’s expectations of her. She quit being good so she could be free. She quit pleasing and started living.

Soulful and uproarious, forceful and tender, Untamed is both an intimate memoir and a galvanizing wake-up call. It is the story of how one woman learned that a responsible mother is not one who slowly dies for her children, but one who shows them how to fully live. It is the story of navigating divorce, forming a new blended family, and discovering that the brokenness or wholeness of a family depends not on its structure but on each member’s ability to bring her full self to the table. And it is the story of how each of us can begin to trust ourselves enough to set boundaries, make peace with our bodies, honor our anger and heartbreak, and unleash our truest, wildest instincts so that we become women who can finally look at ourselves and say: There She Is.

Untamed shows us how to be brave. As Glennon insists: The braver we are, the luckier we get.

Thoughts:

Beautifully inspiring and effortlessly relatable; I want everyone I know to read this book.  Such a breath of fresh air!

In childhood, I remember watching my grandmother serve my grandfather every meal. I watched my mother cook, clean, and work a full time job outside the home. It was expected and one wasn’t to question, though I did and loudly.

Why do women find it honorable to dismiss ourselves?
Why do we decide that denying our longing is the responsible thing to do?
Why do we believe that what will thrill and fulfill us will hurt our people?
Why do we mistrust ourselves so completely?
~Glennon Doyle, Untamed

The subjugation of women is not new. We have been fighting since the first woman decided to stand up and shake her chains, tired of living in quiet servitude, believing there’s another way. Glennon shows readers how she recognized the memos of society and how she rejected them; how she ultimately found herself, without them. And it’s amazingly empowering!

I find it impossible to read this book and not examine my own life and choices. What familiar roles have I accepted as a wife and a mother to make my family’s lives easier? What gender roles have I perpetuated from the examples passed down to me? In what ways am I disappearing and how can I become a model for my children? Each person will have their own questions arise from reading this book and they will not be easy to answer but they will be important. Glennon prompts readers to answer these questions honestly and humbly, from within.

I appreciated the author’s view of the limitations placed upon our boys and men. Emotional restraints silencing the tears of men and telling them to man up rather than experience emotion organically, in the here and now. No, men are to suppress emotion and see it actualize in those pesky defense mechanisms of Freud’s. Women are not the only one’s indoctrinated and we must teach our sons another way.

Everyday I work with women who have been disregarded by people and society. Those who should love her the most have thrown her away, over and over again. These women are living on the fringes of society, managing in the only way they know how; surviving. My work involves listening and providing unconditional acceptance as well as illuminating choices, another path, and empowering. Most of my patients started numbing at such an early age and for so long they do not know who they are. This book will be a tool I utilize with my patients to help them see the ways they have been tamed and the ways they can break free. 

Overall, this book is wild, beautiful, and frightening, and I enjoyed every minute of it!

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Categories
New Release

New June Releases

Half the fun of reading books is the discovery!

At least, this is true for me. I don’t know about you but nothing is quite as satisfying as learning about a new book that sounds like it was written just for me and then preordering it. Anytime my favorite youtubers upload videos featuring new releases, I’m one of the first to watch. So, of course, I want to start a regular blog post featuring my most anticipated new releases for the coming month.

Agnes at the end of the World

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: June 9, 2020


Agnes must choose between the only life she’s ever known, living inside a cult at the whim of a madman, or on the outside where a deadly virus is killing the population at an alarming rate.

The synopsis compares this book to The Handmaids Tale and Wilder Girls. Thus far, the goodreads reviews are really promising. I think this book may be a five star for me.

My Calamity Jane (The Lady Janies #3)

Publisher: Harper Teen

Publication Date: June 2, 2020


This book is likely on many readers most anticipated lists. This is the third book in the saga of “Jane.” The previous two books being, My Lady Jane and My Plain Jane. In this latest edition of Jane, we follow Calamity Jane through her trials and tribulations, which will no doubt be absolutely hilarious in the best of ways.

The Obsidian Tower

Publisher: Orbit

Publication Date: June 4, 2020


Destined to one day rule the kingdom, Ryx must solve the mystery of her unstable powers and save her family from destruction.

I don’t have to know anymore than that. I’m here for all the fantasy escapism right now. Bring it on!

Mexican Gothic

Publisher: Del Rey

Publication Date: June 30, 2020


Silvia Moreno-Garcia also wrote Gods of Jade and Shadow which I still need to read. (It’s on my TBR shortlist) Mexican Gothic sounds equally if not more intriguing. Set in 1950s Mexico, our main protagonist Noemi travels to a mysterious mansion, which is also the home of her newly-wed cousin, in an attempt to save her from a perplexing threat. Not all is as it seems.

Mysterious mansion, eerie atmosphere, creepy side characters — this is right up my alley! Fingers crossed it’s a book of the month pick!

A Declaration of the Rights of Magicians

Publisher: Redhook

Publication Date: June 23, 2020


I don’t have much to say about this one, I mean, it involves magic! What more needs to be said?

Historical fiction and fantasy combine in this alternate take on history. I’m always up for a little magic and excited to dive into this immersive story. Early reviews look promising!


This list could go on and on so I better stop here. What are some new release books you’re excited to read in June? I’m sure I missed some so please comment down below with your most anticipate books. I’d love to add more to my list! 🙂

Categories
Review

The Lost Ones

The Lost Ones by Anita Frank

Release Date: October 31, 2019 ~ Genre: Historical Fiction, Gothic, Horror, Paranormal, Mystery.

Synopsis

Some houses are never at peace.

England, 1917 

Reeling from the death of her fiancé, Stella Marcham welcomes the opportunity to stay with her pregnant sister, Madeleine, at her imposing country mansion, Greyswick – but she arrives to discover a house of unease and her sister gripped by fear and suspicion.

Before long, strange incidents begin to trouble Stella – sobbing in the night, little footsteps on the stairs – and as events escalate, she finds herself drawn to the tragic history of the house.

Aided by a wounded war veteran, Stella sets about uncovering Greyswick’s dark and terrible secrets – secrets the dead whisper from the other side…

In the classic tradition of The Woman in Black, Anita Frank weaves a spell-binding debut of family tragedy, loss and redemption.

Review

Secrets keep you sick. I hear this said often to and by my patients. The Lost Ones, by Anita Frank demonstrates the truth of the above statement in the most chilling of ways.
~
I’m not going to get into spoilers but I loved the ominous tone of this book and the bravery displayed by our main protagonist, Stella. Stella is determined and loyal, and exhibited a persistence not often associated with women in the early 1900s. I loved her for her tenacity in the face of so may obstacles.
~
The pacing of this book is steady until the end when it picks up and you fly through. I didn’t feel it dragged at all. I just kept wanting to turn the pages.
~

The creep factor is real in this book and there were several times I had to put this book away rather than continue reading through the night, otherwise, I felt I’d never fall asleep. I love a little spookiness and it never got too scary or horrific. The plot points felt purposeful and added a little more to the mystery.

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I do love a good historical fiction and throw a little ghostiness in with a mystery and I’m in heaven! Overall, highly recommend!

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Categories
Review

The Guest List

The Guest List by Lucy Foley

Release: June 2, 2020 ~ Genre: Mystery Thriller ~ Book acquired through Book of the Month early release.

Synopsis

A wedding celebration turns dark and deadly in this deliciously wicked and atmospheric thriller reminiscent of Agatha Christie from the author of The Hunting Party.

The bride ‧ The plus one ‧ The best man ‧ The wedding planner ‧ The bridesmaid ‧ The body

On an island off the coast of Ireland, guests gather to celebrate two people joining their lives together as one. The groom: handsome and charming, a rising television star. The bride: smart and ambitious, a magazine publisher. It’s a wedding for a magazine, or for a celebrity: the designer dress, the remote location, the luxe party favors, the boutique whiskey. The cell phone service may be spotty and the waves may be rough, but every detail has been expertly planned and will be expertly executed.

But perfection is for plans, and people are all too human. As the champagne is popped and the festivities begin, resentments and petty jealousies begin to mingle with the reminiscences and well wishes. The groomsmen begin the drinking game from their school days. The bridesmaid not-so-accidentally ruins her dress. The bride’s oldest (male) friend gives an uncomfortably caring toast.

And then someone turns up dead. Who didn’t wish the happy couple well? And perhaps more important, why? 

Review

I struggled putting together a review for this one. As a mystery/thriller, I feel like most info can be considered a spoiler. However, here are my non-spoilery thoughts. 
I find it difficult to read books when I don’t like any of the characters and I hesitated picking this up because I heard all the characters in this book were unlike-able. Happily, I found this not to be true. I did like two of the characters especially and found myself rooting for them throughout the twists and turns of this story. I think many readers may find they identify with some aspect of these two characters, seemingly on the outskirts of the friend group, and will hang on perilously with them while hoping for a gratifying ending.
For me, the pacing of this book was slow to start but built quickly and became very exciting and unputdownable towards the end. I didn’t find the major twists predictable and I liked the buildup to the finale. 

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I did have a couple of issues with the plot but overall, really enjoyed this one! It was a fun ride.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Categories
Review

The Deep

The Deep by Alma Katsu

The presence grew larger and larger, and whiter. Until there was no mistaking what was coming at him, what had emerged from the clouds hovering just over the surface of the ocean. 

As tall as any building in London. And as massive. 

An iceberg.

Alma Katsu, The Deep

Release: 3/10/2020 ~ Genre: Historical Fiction, Fantasy-Paranormal, Horror

Synopsis

This is the only way to explain the series of misfortunes that have plagued the passengers of the ship from the moment they set sail: mysterious disappearances, sudden deaths. Now suspended in an eerie, unsettling twilight zone during the four days of the liner’s illustrious maiden voyage, a number of the passengers – including millionaires Madeleine Astor and Benjamin Guggenheim, the maid Annie Hebbley and Mark Fletcher – are convinced that something sinister is going on . . . And then, as the world knows, disaster strikes.

Years later and the world is at war. And a survivor of that fateful night, Annie, is working as a nurse on the sixth voyage of the Titanic’s sister ship, the Britannic, now refitted as a hospital ship. Plagued by the demons of her doomed first and near fatal journey across the Atlantic, Annie comes across an unconscious soldier she recognises while doing her rounds. It is the young man Mark. And she is convinced that he did not – could not – have survived the sinking of the Titanic . . .

Review

I enjoyed this story so much! 

I’m one of those people who became fascinated by the story of the Titanic after watching the 1997 film. Today it looms large in my mind as such an awe inspiring work of modern innovation for the early 1900s that came to such a devastatingly tragic end. How did the passengers feel boarding that great and powerful ship? What did they experience? Did they truly believe the ship was unsinkable? 

~

Alma Katsu provides an immersive narrative of what life was like for those aboard both the Titanic and its sister ship, the Britannic, with a paranormal twist. We are allowed to experience the perspectives of numerous infamous individuals who really experienced living in first class aboard the Titanic as well as a couple voices from those housed below. Our main protagonist, Annie, we quickly learn, is unreliable but she endeared herself to me as she seemed to only want the best for others, even if she went about it in a misguided way. Annie’s perspective is both fascinating and mystifying. One never feels on level ground with Annie but her character arc builds to bring together the loose ends and concludes in a satisfying way. The paranormal aspect added a little something extra to the story and contributed to the overall ominous undertone.

I don’t say this very often this is a book I will reread and I’m definitely passing it along to everyone. You there, amazing person reading this right now, you should pick this up!

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫