ARC Book Review | The Chaos of Now by Erin Jade Lange

the chaos
Title:
 The Chaos of Now
Author: Erin Jade Lange
Publish Date: October 2, 2018 by Bloomsbury YA
# of Pages: 352
Buy it*: Amazon

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(From Goodreads) Is it real if it happens online?

Life at Eli’s high school hasn’t been the same since his classmate Jordan committed suicide after being tirelessly bullied. Schools now have access to students’ online activities and students have less privacy than ever. Eli just wants to graduate—so he can get out of town, get away from his father’s embarrassingly young fiancée, and get himself a prestigious coding job. But Eli’s hacking skills get him roped into a vigilante website that—while subverting the school’s cybersnoops— seeks justice for Jordan and everyone else being bullied. Suddenly Eli finds himself in way over his head as his keystrokes start to have devastating consequences in the real world . . . This timely story from the author of Butter is a thrilling tale about the power of the internet, the young people who wield it, and the fine lines between bully and victim, justice and vengeance.

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Rating (1-5, 5 is exceptional)

Quality of Writing
4_stars-01 STAR
Pace
4_stars-01 STAR
Plot Development
3_stars-01 STAR

Ending
2_stars-01 STAR
Characters
3_stars-01 STAR
Enjoyability
4_stars-01 STAR

Overall Rating
3_stars-01 STAR

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The Chaos of Now by Erin Jade Lange is a thought-provoking book that discusses tough topics like bullying, suicide, and cyber monitoring. When Jordan, a geeky computer wizard, commits suicide by lighting a match, it irrevocably changes the lives of those he went to school with. Eli Bennett gets caught in the middle of a vigilante scheme to pay tribute to Jordan, but unfortunately, it does not go as planned . . .

This was such an interesting book! It’s going to be a tough book to review, because I feel conflicted. On one hand, it was entertaining to read. Tough to read, too, especially since I have kids of my own. On the other hand, much of the book was shallow and lacked good character and plot depth, so I had a hard time connecting with the characters.

I did like the the story concept. When Jordan commits suicide, it changes the lives of everyone around him. Jordan’s friends want to get revenge against the bullies who destroyed Jordan’s lives, so they rope Eli into helping them create their vigilante website. While doing so, their actions repeatedly raised the questions: Were Eli and his friends now the bullies? Did the bullies deserve their punishment? How narrow is the line between right and wrong?

I appreciated the complexity of the bullies. While the main characters lacked depth, the author provided insight into the lives of the bullies. No one is simply good or bad–there are so many shades of gray. I think it was interesting watching Eli process his actions and how they affected other people’s lives. It’s hard to feel good about something when empathy gets in the way. I liked that the book forced you into the shoes of a bully. It’s easy to see how that line can be crossed!

The ending of the book left me wanting more. While suicide was a primary topic in the book, I wish it would have been discussed further. At one point a character called Jordan’s suicide selfish. I wish there would have been more elaboration during this interchange, especially on the topic of mental illness. Simply saying suicide is selfish makes light of what suicide is actually about and doesn’t pay homage to the mental illness that often runs rampant before a person commits suicide.

Overall, this was a quick read, easily consumed in a day. Should you read it? I can’t say I would highly recommend this book, but if it sounds like your cup of tea, give it a read!

Thank you to NetGalley for providing the Kindle version of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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None recorded.

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Is The Chaos of Now on your TBR? What was the last book you read that dealt with a tough subject?

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Discussion | Why Audiobooks Are Awesome

It’s no big secret that I love audiobooks. Audiobooks are part of the reason why I’m able to read as many books as I do. And yes, I count audiobooks as reading (and so should you!)

So why are audiobooks awesome, and why should you include them on your reading menu? Here’s why:

  • Audiobooks are great for times when it’s not feasible to pick up a book. I listen to audiobooks while I drive, cook, clean, and in the shower. I love the flexibility of audiobooks!
  • Audiobooks are a fun way to read books. There are some amazing narrators out there who have the ability to make the books they read a really fun experience. They don’t just read to you Elementary School style—they get into their characters. It’s an experience you don’t get from a physical book.
  • Audiobooks allow you to adjust the speed of the book. I typically listen to audiobooks at 1.25-1.5x the speed. Any faster, and it sounds unnatural to me, but there are many people who listen to audiobooks at even faster speeds! Listening to audiobooks with the speed kicked up enables you to cut out long pauses and get to
    the meat of the audiobook you’re listening to.
  • Audiobooks give you the opportunity to rest your eyes. I’ll admit it, sometimes staring at a computer screen all day strains my eyes to the point of no return. Sometimes my eyes just need a break. Audiobooks let me read while still giving my eyes a rest.
  • Audiobooks give you the opportunity to enjoy your favorite books in a new way. Harry Potter fan? Check out the Harry Potter audiobooks! I love reliving my favorites in a different format.
  • Audiobooks are more accessible today than they were in the past. Gone are the days where you have to swap out multiple CDs just to listen to a single book. Whether you check audiobooks out at your library or subscribe to services like Scribd or Audible, the opportunities for audiobook consumption are plentiful!

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Have I convinced you that audiobooks are great? Awesome! Here are my favorite audiobook accessories–the ones I use on a near daily basis.

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First off, there’s the Libby app! I listen to nearly all of my audiobooks through the Libby app, which is a companion app to Overdrive. I love it, and since most of the audiobooks I listen to are ones I checked out through the library, this app gets a lot of use!

I’m not a headphone snob, but I am picky about how they feel. I wear these Panasonic ErgoFit Earbuds all day at work. They’re cheap, comfortable, and sound great!

Did I mention that I like to listen to audiobooks while I shower? I couldn’t do it without my shower speaker! While there are many options out there, I’m partial to my AquaAudio Cubo. It works great for keeping up with my books while I’m scrub-a-dub-dubbing.

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Not sure which audiobooks to start with? Here are some of my favorites!

 

Sworn to Silence (Kate Burkholder, #1) by Linda Castillo
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
The Other Woman by Sandie Jones
Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter
First They Killed My Father
 by Loung Ung
Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman

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Do you love audiobooks? What’s your favorite audiobook?

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Top Ten Tuesday | Books On My Fall 2018 TBR

TTT-Big2Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature created by The Broke and the Bookish but has since relocated to That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is “Books On My Fall 2018 TBR.” There are several books I’m dying to read this fall, so it’s hard to narrow it down to ten, but I’ll do my best!

1. City of Ghosts (Cassidy Blake, #1) by Victoria Schwab
2. Legendary (Caraval, #2) by Stephanie Garber
3. Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer, #2) by Laini Taylor
4. The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White
5. Bright We Burn (The Conqueror’s Saga, #3) by Kiersten White
6. This Cruel Design (This Mortal Coil, #2) by Emily Suvada
7. Archenemies (Renegades, #2) by Marissa Meyer
8. Wildcard (Warcross, #2) by Marie Lu
9. Kingdom of Ash (Throne of Glass, #7) by Sarah J. Maas
10. The Devil’s Thief (The Last Magician, #2) by Lisa Maxwell

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What books are on your fall TBR?

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ARC Book Review | FLAT by Catherine Guthrie

flat
Title:
FLAT: Reclaiming My Body from Breast Cancer
Author: Catherine Guthrie
Publish Date: September 25, 2018 by Skyhorse Publishing
# of Pages: 264
Buy it*: Amazon

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(From Goodreads) A feminist breast cancer memoir of medical trauma, love, and how she found the strength to listen to her body.As a young, queer woman, Catherine Guthrie had worked hard to feel at home in her body. However, after years writing about women’s health and breast cancer, Guthrie is thrust into the role of the patient after a devastating diagnosis at age thirty-eight. At least, she thinks, I know what I’m up against.

She was wrong. In one horrifying moment after another, everything that could go wrong does–the surgeon gives her a double mastectomy but misses the cancerous lump, one of the most effective drug treatments fails, and a doctor’s error may have unleashed millions of breast cancer cells into her body.

Flatis Guthrie’s story of how two bouts of breast cancer shook her faith in her body, her relationship, and medicine. Along the way, she challenges the view that breasts are essential to femininity and paramount to a woman’s happiness. Ultimately, she traces an intimate portrayal of how cancer reshapes her relationship with Mary, her partner, revealing–in the midst of crisis–a love story.

Filled with candor, vulnerability, and resilience, Guthrie upends the “pink ribbon” narrative and offers a unique perspective on womanhood, what it means to be “whole,” and the importance of women advocating for their desires. Flatis a story about how she found the strength to forge an unconventional path–one of listening to her body–that she’d been on all along.

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Rating (1-5, 5 is exceptional)

Quality of Writing
4_stars-01 STAR
Pace
4_stars-01 STAR
Enjoyability
5_stars-01 STAR

Insightfulness
5_stars-01 STAR

Overall Rating
5_stars-01 STAR

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FLAT by Catherine Guthrie is a stunningly raw cancer memoir. When Guthrie is diagnosed with cancer in her late-30s, she has a tough decision to make. Does she do reconstruction? Go flat? Use prosthetic breasts? In the end, she decides to go flat. This memoir shares her story–her cancer journey–and how cancer affected her relationships, self-image, and her faith in the medical system.

Cancer memoirs are always hard to read, and I’ve read several. On one hand, I always feel like a voyeur, viewing the grimness of someone else’s life through my healthy, rose-tinted glasses. On the other hand, cancer runs rampant in my family, so it’s only a matter of time before it hits closer to home than extended relatives. I’m in my early 30s, and I’ve had two mammograms and two ultrasounds to check out suspect lumps. While both lumps have been negative, I understand the fear and panic of the not knowing–the ultimate question of, is this lump benign, or is trying to kill me?

FLAT was a wonderful memoir–beautifully written and easily read in a single sitting. It’s raw, real, and hides nothing. Guthrie leaves herself bare as she discusses how cancer made her feel during those first days, the missed lump, and the physician’s critical mistake. Her cancer journey was not short, and she actively battled the disease for over two years. With those years behind her, she continues lives in wait, not knowing if cancer will make a reappearance or if it’s gone forever.

Throughout her journey, her partner, Mary, was by her side. Mary is the partner everyone could hope to have in a life or death situation. She’s calm, patient, and unfailing in her love and support as Guthrie made peace with her diagnosis. I fell in love with their love story as I read this memoir.

What I liked best about this memoir is that it showed the good and bad. Guthrie did not sugar coat anything, and shared the range of emotions she experienced during those early days. Depression, joy, heart-ache, hope–all of those emotions radiated from the pages as I read.

While this book wouldn’t appeal to everyone, if you enjoy memoirs, I highly recommend you check this book out!

Thank you to NetGalley for providing the Kindle version of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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img_5683P_FAVORITE QUOTES

None recorded.

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Do you enjoy memoirs? What was the last memoir you read?

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Book Review | The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell

the last magician
Title: The Last Magician (The Last Magician, #1)
Author: Lisa Maxwell
Publish Date: July 18, 2017 by Simon Pulse
# of Pages: 500
Buy it*: Amazon

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(From Goodreads) Stop the Magician. Steal the book. Save the future.

In modern-day New York, magic is all but extinct. The remaining few who have an affinity for magic—the Mageus—live in the shadows, hiding who they are. Any Mageus who enters Manhattan becomes trapped by the Brink, a dark energy barrier that confines them to the island. Crossing it means losing their power—and often their lives.

Esta is a talented thief, and she’s been raised to steal magical artifacts from the sinister Order that created the Brink. With her innate ability to manipulate time, Esta can pilfer from the past, collecting these artifacts before the Order even realizes she’s there. And all of Esta’s training has been for one final job: traveling back to 1902 to steal an ancient book containing the secrets of the Order—and the Brink—before the Magician can destroy it and doom the Mageus to a hopeless future.

But Old New York is a dangerous world ruled by ruthless gangs and secret societies, a world where the very air crackles with magic. Nothing is as it seems, including the Magician himself. And for Esta to save her future, she may have to betray everyone in the past.

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Rating (1-5, 5 is exceptional)

Quality of Writing
5_stars-01 STAR
Pace
3_stars-01 STAR

Plot Development
4_stars-01 STAR
Ending
4_stars-01 STAR

Characters
4_stars-01 STAR
Enjoyability
4_stars-01 STAR

Overall Rating
4_stars-01 STAR

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The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell is an exciting romp of magic, betrayal, and intrigue. When Esta, a talented and trained thief with the ability to manipulate time, is tasked with traveling back to 1902 to steal an ancient book from the Order, she doesn’t expect to become so deeply entangled with the Magician. Harte, the Magician, had once destroyed the powerful book, and it’s Esta’s job to stop him.

The Last Magician was so cool! Honestly, it had been sitting on my bookshelf for so long, taunting me with its beautiful cover. I’m happy I finally committed to reading it, because it was well worth the time! The book was beautifully written, rich with detail and expert world building. I felt like I was walking alongside Esta as she stole priceless gems and navigated the cutthroat gangs she was embedded with. While the pacing felt slow at times, it was never a deterrent from wanting to continue reading.

The story itself was magical. Truly. Part of what made the story magical was how in depth the plot and story development was. Each character’s backstory was extensive, wonderfully executed, and woven with care into the overarching plot. Whether I was following Dolph, the gruff gang boss, or the slippery Harte, each character had a story to tell.

I liked the grittiness of the gangs in the book. It reminded me faintly of Six of Crows, with Dolph being magic’s version of Kaz. I liked the danger of the gangs, the broken loyalties, and how powerful the gangs were in the city. The gangs really forced the story in some ways, backing the characters into alleys they may not have down otherwise.

I really enjoyed how the nuances of time travel was handled in The Last Magician. Esta was a powerful manipulator of time, but she wasn’t all-powerful. Her crutch rested in the tools she needed to help her travel. There were rules to time travel–a structure to it–which I appreciated.

The ending left me on a cliff. What happens next? I can’t fathom, but you’d better believe I’ll be voraciously consuming The Devil’s Thief to find out!

The characters really made the book. I didn’t find Esta overly compelling, but Dolph and Harte were amazing. Dolph is so jagged and harsh, yet oddly compassionate. Then there’s Harte. He doesn’t need girls or relationships. With a past full of demons, he just needs to get out of New York City.

If you haven’t read this book already, I highly recommend it!

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img_5683P_FAVORITE QUOTES

  • “‘Change your feathers often enough, and the mark won’t recognize the bird.'”

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Have you read The Last Magician? Are you looking forward to the sequel?

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Book Review | Dance of Thieves by Mary E. Pearson

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Title: Dance of Thieves (Dance of Thieves, #1)
Author: Mary E. Pearson
Publish Date: August 7, 2018 by Henry Holt & Company
# of Pages: 503
Buy it*: Amazon

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(From Goodreads) A new novel in the New York Times–bestselling Remnant Chronicles universe, in which a reformed thief and the young leader of an outlaw dynasty lock wits in a battle that may cost them their lives—and their hearts.

When the patriarch of the Ballenger empire dies, his son, Jase, becomes its new leader. Even nearby kingdoms bow to the strength of this outlaw family, who have always governed by their own rules. But a new era looms on the horizon, set in motion by a young queen, which makes her the target of the dynasty’s resentment and anger.

At the same time, Kazi, a legendary former street thief, is sent by the queen to investigate transgressions against the new settlements. When Kazi arrives in the forbidding land of the Ballengers, she learns that there is more to Jase than she thought. As unexpected events spiral out of their control, bringing them intimately together, they continue to play a cat and mouse game of false moves and motives in order to fulfill their own secret missions.

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Rating (1-5, 5 is exceptional)

Quality of Writing
5_stars-01 STAR
Pace
4_stars-01 STAR
Plot Development
4_stars-01 STAR
Ending
5_stars-01 STAR
Characters
4_stars-01 STAR
Enjoyability
5_stars-01 STAR

Overall Rating
5_stars-01 STAR

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Dance of Thieves by Mary E. Pearson is a spinoff of The Remnant ChroniclesDance of Thieves features Kazi, a street thief turned guard, who is tasked with investigating wrongdoings against an area settlement. Along the way she meets Jase, a member of the Ballenger family, who quickly takes an interest in Kazi. Kazi has to complete her mission all while trying not to fall for Jase’s charm (or lack thereof).

So, to be very short: I loved this book! I adored The Remnant Chronicles, so it was so much fun jumping back into this world. Mary E. Pearson’s writing style is wonderfully descriptive–beautiful imagery and rich world building. I was sucked into the opening chapter, and I never wanted to come up for air.

The story concept is so cool! The book is set just after The Remnant Chronicles, when the queen begins her reign. Kazi and Jase’s cat and mouse game was intriguing. They both had hidden agendas and a mountain’s worth of secrets between the two of them. It was fun watching their relationship develop, even as deceit ran rampant on both sides.

I liked Kazi’s backstory, which was slowly unveiled throughout the book. Kazi is rough around the edges, but her history helped shape her personality and tough demeanor. I liked her sass, and ever-present compassionate streak.

I also liked the inclusion of riddles in the book. This was so fun and unique, and I truly enjoyed puzzling through each riddle before reading on to get the answer. They were very clever.

The ending of the book was encore worthy (the whole book is encore worthy, really). It ends on a positive note, while still remaining open-ended enough to feed into the next book, Vow of Thieves (set to publish August 2019–are we there yet?)

Outside of Kazi, who was a strong female protagonist, the rest of the cast of characters were equally awesome. Jase was swoon-worthy, motivated by honor and compassion. Wren and Synové were exciting, unique, and at times, downright hilarious. All characters not mentioned were just as interesting. There were no cookie-cutter characters in this book!

If you haven’t read a book by Mary E. Pearson, I highly recommend you read The Remnant Chronicles trilogy and then quickly pick up Dance of Thieves. They’re well worth the time!

img_5683P_FAVORITE QUOTES

  • “Numbers don’t lie. They’re far more reliable than people.”
  • “Hear the language that isn’t spoken, for everyone can hear spoken words, but only a few can hear the heart that beats behind it.”
  • “Truth that came too late was as useful as a meal to a dead man.”

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Do you plan to read Dance of Thieves? Have you read The Remnant Chronicles?

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Audiobook Review | The Lonely Hearts Hotel by Heather O’Neill

the lonely hearts hotel

Title: The Lonely Hearts Hotel
Author: Heather O’Neill
Publish Date: February 7, 2017 by Penguin Audiobooks
# of Pages: 391
Buy it*: Amazon

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(From Goodreads) With echoes of The Night Circus, a spellbinding story about two gifted orphans in love with each other since they can remember whose childhood talents allow them to rewrite their future.

The Lonely Hearts Hotel is a love story with the power of legend. An unparalleled tale of charismatic pianos, invisible dance partners, radicalized chorus girls, drug-addicted musicians, brooding clowns, and an underworld whose economy hinges on the price of a kiss. In a landscape like this, it takes great creative gifts to thwart one’s origins. It might also take true love.

Two babies are abandoned in a Montreal orphanage in the winter of 1910. Before long, their talents emerge: Pierrot is a piano prodigy; Rose lights up even the dreariest room with her dancing and comedy. As they travel around the city performing clown routines, the children fall in love with each other and dream up a plan for the most extraordinary and seductive circus show the world has ever seen.

Separated as teenagers, sent off to work as servants during the Great Depression, both descend into the city’s underworld, dabbling in sex, drugs and theft in order to survive. But when Rose and Pierrot finally reunite beneath the snowflakes after years of searching and desperate poverty the possibilities of their childhood dreams are renewed, and they’ll go to extreme lengths to make them come true. Soon, Rose, Pierrot and their troupe of clowns and chorus girls have hit New York, commanding the stage as well as the alleys, and neither the theater nor the underworld will ever look the same.

With her musical language and extravagantly realized world, Heather O’Neill enchants us with a novel so magical there is no escaping its spell.

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Rating (1-5, 5 is exceptional)

Quality of Writing
4_stars-01 STAR
Pace
3_stars-01 STAR
Plot Development
3_stars-01 STAR

Ending
3_stars-01 STAR

Characters
2_stars-01 STAR

Enjoyability
2_stars-01 STAR

Voice Acting
4_stars-01 STAR

Overall Rating
3_stars-01 STAR

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The Lonely Hearts Hotel by Heather O’Neill is a whimsical tale of abuse, love, and loss, set in the Great Depression. When two orphans meet in a Montreal orphanage, they form an instant connection. Falling in love, they’re separated during their teen years, only to find one another once they’re all grown up. Rose and Pierrot, both wildly talented, follow their dreams through poverty and riches, living a life that is both dramatic and tantalizing.

So . . . I’m on the fence with this book! The first half of the book was a lot of fun. The writing style was playful and quirky, even when discussing serious topics. It drew me in immediately, and I enjoyed learning about the early lives of the young orphans. The second half of the book had me scratching my head, thinking, “What in the world am I reading?” The book was still okay and entertaining enough, but my opinion changed quite a bit from the first half to the last half of the book.

I enjoyed the writing style of the book. It reminded me a lot of Lincoln in the Bardo, but less chaotic and easier to follow. The dose of whimsy was a nice change from some of my previous reads, so that was appreciated. The pacing was, for the most part, good. It did drag at times in the second half of the book, but not unbearably so.

The story concept was delightfully quirky. Yes, there were serious topics thrown in like S abuse, child loss, drug abuse (trigger warnings!), but even the serious was painted with a coat of odd. Again, I liked the weirdness of the book, but the storyline was tough to follow at times. It went down the rabbit hole in the second half of the book, and then the plot jumped around all over the place.

While the blurb paints this book to be a bit of a love story, Rose and Pierrot’s relationship never felt all that convincing. Their love felt shallow and simple, a love of convenience, not of true connection. I was never convinced that they were right for each other, and I was never emotionally invested enough in their characters enough to care about whether they were together or apart.

Drug abuse was touched on quite a bit in this book, and I liked the grittiness of it. During the Great Depression, many people found happiness in the form of getting high. I liked how the book portrayed the abuse, and how ultimately, the drug abuse took on a life and power of its own.

The ending of the book was decent. The ending was surprising and dramatic, but again, since I hard time caring about the characters, I didn’t have much of an emotional response to the events as they unfolded.

The characters, odd and weird as they were, just didn’t engage me. They were odd, but not interesting. I wasn’t invested in them, and very few details stand out about each of them. That was disappointing, because engaging characters could have really turned this book around.

The voice acting was wonderful. The narrator’s voice was easy to listen to and handled the material well. I enjoyed listening to her.

Would I recommend this book? Maybe. If you enjoyed Lincoln in the Bardo,you might enjoy this book too.

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img_5683P_FAVORITE QUOTES

None recorded.

img_5683P_LET'S TALK

Have you read The Lonely Hearts Hotel? What did you think of the character development? Did you like the book?

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img_5683*Note: The link above is an affiliate link. Purchases made after clicking the link help support this blog. 

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ARC Book Review | Vox by Christina Dalcher

vox
Title: Vox
Author: Christina Dalcher
Publish Date: August 21, 2018 by Berkley
# of Pages: 326
Buy it*: Amazon

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(From Goodreads) Set in an America where half the population has been silenced, VOX is the harrowing, unforgettable story of what one woman will do to protect herself and her daughter.

On the day the government decrees that women are no longer allowed more than 100 words daily, Dr. Jean McClellan is in denial—this can’t happen here. Not in America. Not to her.

This is just the beginning.

Soon women can no longer hold jobs. Girls are no longer taught to read or write. Females no longer have a voice. Before, the average person spoke sixteen thousand words a day, but now women only have one hundred to make themselves heard.

But this is not the end.

For herself, her daughter, and every woman silenced, Jean will reclaim her voice.

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Rating (1-5, 5 is exceptional)

Quality of Writing
4_stars-01 STAR
Pace
4_stars-01 STAR
Plot Development
4_stars-01 STAR
Ending
4_stars-01 STAR
Characters
3_stars-01 STAR

Enjoyability
5_stars-01 STAR

Overall Rating
4_stars-01 STAR

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Vox by Christina Dalcher is a startling book that features women’s rights in a whole new way. Imagine if half the population was silenced. Imagine if it was only the women who lost their voices. When linguistics scientist Dr. Jean McClellan is asked to help find a cure for aphasia, she gets her voice back. Unshackled, she speaks for those who can’t speak themselves.

This book was alarming, yet powerful. It seems so foreign–the concept of women not being allowed to hold jobs, girls not educated in schools, and women’s voices treated as unimportant. It seems foreign, but it’s not far from what’s been reality for a lot of women in our history. It’s hard to think about going back to those days and truly being limited on what you could say. Can you imagine only having 100 words each day? If you only had 100 words per day, how would you use them?

This book was well-written and well-paced. It was so utterly intriguing that I had a hard time putting it down. I was eager to find out what happened next. What was Gianna going to do next? What was she going to do with her voice? How was she going to handle the Pure Movement? I wasn’t disappointed! There was so much action in the book that it kept me engaged from the very beginning.

I liked the creepiness of the book and the nod to today’s political climate. While reminiscent of The Handmaid’s Tale, Vox was a unique story that discussed so many “what-ifs.” What if women lost their voices? What if women were no longer equal? What if the government was blatantly corrupt? What if . . . what if . . . what if . . .

I also liked the relationships in the book. The tough teenager who falls in with the wrong crowd, the husband swayed by the new societal norms, the forbidden lover, the close colleagues–all of the relationships Gianna formed were a pleasure to read. The imperfections in the relationships were part of what sucked me into this book. There were no easy relationships in Vox. How can you form and maintain true relationships when your words are (quite literally) numbered?

A lot happens towards the end of the book. It was heart-pounding. I kept hoping for the best but was prepared for the worst. I really liked the ending. There are still some unanswered questions, but it was an ending of hope.

The characters in the story were just okay. While the relationships the characters formed were interesting, the actual characters themselves lacked the depth I typically like to see in a book. The characters were still good, but they weren’t remarkable.

If you’re a fan of The Handmaid’s Tale, this is the book for you! Personally, I liked Vox better than the The Handmaid’s Tale. 

Thank you to NetGalley for providing the Kindle version of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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None recorded.

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Is Vox on your TBR? Have you already read it? If so, what did you think? If you could only speak 100 words per day, how would you use your words?

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ARC Book Review | When the Lights Go Out by Mary Kubica

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Title:
 When the Lights Go Out
Author: Mary Kubica
Publish Date: September 4, 2018 by Park Row
# of Pages: 384
Buy it*: Amazon

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(From Goodreads) A woman is forced to question her own identity in this riveting and emotionally charged thriller by the blockbuster bestselling author of The Good Girl, Mary Kubica

Jessie Sloane is on the path to rebuilding her life after years of caring for her ailing mother. She rents a new apartment and applies for college. But when the college informs her that her social security number has raised a red flag, Jessie discovers a shocking detail that causes her to doubt everything she’s ever known.

Finding herself suddenly at the center of a bizarre mystery, Jessie tumbles down a rabbit hole, which is only exacerbated by grief and a relentless lack of sleep. As days pass and the insomnia worsens, it plays with Jessie’s mind. Her judgment is blurred, her thoughts are hampered by fatigue. Jessie begins to see things until she can no longer tell the difference between what’s real and what she’s only imagined.

Meanwhile, twenty years earlier and two hundred and fifty miles away, another woman’s split-second decision may hold the key to Jessie’s secret past. Has Jessie’s whole life been a lie or have her delusions gotten the best of her?

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Rating (1-5, 5 is exceptional)

Quality of Writing
4_stars-01 STAR
Pace
4_stars-01 STAR
Plot Development
3_stars-01 STAR

Ending
4_stars-01 STAR
Characters
3_stars-01 STAR
Enjoyability
4_stars-01 STAR

Overall Rating
4_stars-01 STAR

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When the Lights Go Out by Mary Kubica is an emotional rollercoaster of a mystery. When Jessie’s mom passes away, she slowly starts putting the pieces of her life back together. After what she believes is a clerical error on the part of her university’s financial aid department, she’s soon entangled in the mystery of finding out she is–who is Jessie Sloan? Exacerbated by days without sleep, Jessie’s mind starts playing tricks on her, which only makes her investigation more difficult.

I’ve read several books by Mary Kubica, and I always find them entertaining. When the Lights Go Out was no different! When the Lights Go Out was an entertaining book that messed with my mind as I followed Jessie down the rabbit hole. As Jessie’s sleeplessness progressed, the book took on an Alice in Wonderland quality as Jessie started imagining things that weren’t actually there. When you can’t decipher between real and imagined, things start to get weird.

This book is told using two perspectives: Jessie, and Jessie’s mom, Eden. The two perspectives covered different times periods and never overlapped, while still effectively progressing the storyline. I enjoyed the two perspectives, getting inside the heads of the two main females in the book.

I thought the overall story concept was intriguing. I liked Jessie’s insomnia and how it played into what was happening in the book. As I was reading, I struggled to determine what was real and what was hallucination. I tried to outsmart Jessie–categorizing the events as they unfolded into neat little “real” and “not real” columns. I thought the sleeplessness was a fun addition to the book. Can you imagine staying awake for days on end? I sure can’t!

The mystery in the book–Jessie’s self-discovery–was well done. It’s the age old question: who am I? Except in Jessie’s case, it’s much more complicated than that. I enjoyed the investigation Jessie underwent as she tried to trace her roots.

The ending really threw me for a loop! Once the big reveal happened, I was disappointed in myself for not figuring it out sooner! I’m ridiculously bad at predicting book endings, so maybe this was an easy one, but I was still surprised. Some people might hate the ending, but I liked it. It’s interesting how subtle suggestions can manipulate reality.

My one big gripe is that the characters in the book did not have a lot of depth. Jessie’s insomnia had more depth than Jessie herself. I tend to gravitate towards books with well-constructed character development, so this detail was a bit disappointing. Still, Jessie and Eden were both engaging and compelling despite their shallow states. Eden’s story especially sucked me in. As someone who has struggled with infertility, I could definitely relate to Eden’s story and found myself nodding along with her struggles as I read them. Sometimes wanting something can take on a life of its own.

Would I recommend this book? Yes! If you’re a fan of Mary Kubica already or are just looking for something a little different to read, check out When the Lights Go Out.

Thank you to NetGalley for providing the Kindle version of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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None recorded.

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Have you read any books by Mary Kubica? Which is your favorite?

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August Book Wrap Up

I’m absolutely loving the books I’m reading this year. This was another fantastic month in reading.

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In August I read 13 books and 4,687 pages, which is almost exactly what I read last month!

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I averaged 360 pages per book in August, which has been the norm for me this year. The shortest book I read was Calypso by David Sedaris at 261 pages, and the longest book I read was Dance of Thieves (Dance of Thieves, #1) by Mary E. Pearson at 508 pages.

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My average rating in August was 4! I read a lot of wonderful books in August.

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5 out of the 13 books I read this month were physical books. The rest of the books were either e-books or audiobooks.

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I read 2 non-fiction in August, which is a lot more than I had been reading lately. I really do love non-fiction books, but there are so many fiction books I want to read right now! Bookworm problems, right?

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Nearly half of the books I read in August were ARCs! I have several ARCs I need to read in September too!

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Check out my rating index for a list of all the books I’ve reviewed!

Warcross by Marie Lu ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Dance of Thieves (Dance of Thieves, #1) by Mary E. Pearson ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Calypso by David Sedaris ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Flat by Catherine Guthrie ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
The Other Woman by Sandie Jones ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Vox by Christina Dalcher ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
The Last Magician (The Last Magician, #1) by Lisa Maxwell ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng ⭐️⭐️⭐️
Dare You to Lie by Amber Lynn Natusch ⭐️⭐️⭐️
Sea Witch by Sarah Henning ⭐️⭐️⭐️
The Lonely Hearts Hotel by Heather O’Neill ⭐️⭐️⭐️

img_5683P_LET'S TALK

How many books did you read in August? What was your favorite book?

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