books

Book Depository giveaway! (International!)

Win a book of your choice from BookDepository.com!(Photo by Glen Noble via Unsplash)

If there’s one thing I can never have enough of, it’s books, and I’m sure many of my readers feel the same way…which is why I’m giving you guys a chance to win the book of your choice from BookDepository.com! The giveaway is open internationally and closes in one week; just use the Rafflecopter below to enter. (Please keep in mind that you can select any book up to a $25 value, and you must live in a country that BD will ship to—see the list here.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Top Ten Tuesday: book-to-movie adaptations I still need to watch

Top Ten TuesdayDo you read the book first, or watch the movie? I try to read the book first, but sometimes that means I put off watching the movie for a loooong time! Here are ten book-to-movie adaptations I have yet to watch, even though I’ve already read the books and should really just get on with it already! Link up your own list over at The Broke and the Bookish, and leave me your recommendations in the comments!

The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green: The book was good, but I just don’t know if I liked it enough to also watch the movie. I’m just not that in love with love stories.

Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn: I loved the book and am afraid the movie won’t come close!

The Martian, by Andy Weir: The book had a lot of hardcore science-speak in it, so I’m hoping the movie will be easier to digest.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams: I just did not click with this book, but everyone else seems to love it, so I’m wondering if I’d enjoy the movie more?

The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak: Another book I adored, so I’ve put off watching the movie.

The Double, by Jose Saramago: This book was good but also really weird, so I’m not sure if I’d enjoy the movie or not.

Stardust, by Neil Gaiman: Not sure there was enough of a story to support a full-length book, much less a movie, but curious to see how Gaiman looks on the big screen!

Never Let Me Go, by Kazuo Ishiguro: I wonder if it’d as hard to follow the flashbacks in the film as it was in the book.

Bridget Jones’ Diary, by Helen Fielding: Laughed out loud at these! And they have Mr. Darcy Colin Firth in them.

The Road, by Cormac McCarthy: This was not a fun book, so I imagine the movie is not fun either, but it was still a great read and I’d like to see how it plays out on the screen.

What I read: October 2015

I was kind of surprised to look back and see how many books I read last month! I had a few good picks but for the most part it was a really “meh” month. Here’s what I loved, liked, and didn’t click with.

The great (four and five stars)

What I read: October 2015: four stars or more (more…)

Quickie review: ‘The Grownup’, by Gillian Flynn

A quickie review of the short story 'The Grownup', by Gillian Flynn(Thank you to Blogging For Books for the review copy!)

It’s hard to not sit down and read Flynn’s short story The Grownup all in one sitting, for two reasons:

1. It’s awesome.

2. It’s short.

Thus, this story is a bit of a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it’s a great mystery/suspense story and I devoured it. On the other hand—ten freaking dollars for a sixty-page story?! No thank you!

The story centers around an unnamed protagonist, who earns her living posing as a psychic. She’s a little bit jaded from spending her whole life conning, in some way or another, but when she encounters a woman who believes her house may be haunted, her careful game of deceit and control begins to unravel. She’s forced to ask herself, the ultimate skeptic: are ghosts real? Or has the con artist now been sucked into the ultimate con?

I think if you can get ahold of this from your local library, you should, because it’s not only one of the tightest short stories I’ve read recently, it’s a great lesson in how to maintain tension and create clever plot twists in a story, for those of us who are writers and are learning as we read. However, I wouldn’t buy it. There’s just no way I can justify the cover price!

The Grownup, by Gillian Flynn (hardcover, 64 pages). Published November 2015 by Crown. Genre: mystery, suspense, horror. Four out of five stars.

Breaking up (with a book) is hard to do

How do you know when it’s time to quit a book? I keep thinking about that lately because I’m trying to chug my way through my loooooong NetGalley review list and to be honest, I end up feeling really “meh” about half of the books I read.

I know there are two trains of thought on this. A lot of  readers, particularly heavy reviewers, feel that you have to read the whole book before you can judge it, which is fair enough. (Though, I think there’s a big difference between writing a scathing review judging the whole book off the few chapters you read, and admitting you DNF’d and explaining why.)

And very rarely, I’ve read books that started out slow (hello, Game of Thrones) but ended up being epic. So I definitely see why you might not want to DNF too often. But what do you do when you realize you’re actively avoiding a book? Like, you’ve read 20% or so and you’re now picking up other titles to avoid returning to said book? Lately I’ve DNF’d a few because I set them down and realized I just honestly didn’t care about finding out how the story would end. The story is bland, the writing is poor, the characters are so two-dimensional that I forget their names as soon as I close the book…that sort of thing.

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I would argue that at that point, it’s time to move on. After all, my TBR list is currently sitting at 1,127 titles and those books just ain’t gonna read themselves. With limited time and so many other books to choose from, why waste time reading a book if it’s not doing anything for me?

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Well, bookworms? Do you DNF or not? Do you have personal “rules” for DNF’ing a book? Have you ever set a book aside, then come back to it later and liked it after all? Leave me a comment and let me know!

Top Ten Tuesday: newish authors who have me looking forward to their next book!

Top Ten TuesdayThis week’s Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by The Broke and the Bookish) is a little hard for me. My TBR list is so long and I’m always so far behind everyone else on new releases or new authors! However, after a little brain-racking (and GR perusing), I did manage to come up with a list of seven newish authors I’ve read that have definitely made me crave more. If you have any debut authors you’ve really enjoyed, please leave me a comment and let me know—I always love finding new authors and books to devour!

William Ritter (Jackaby and Beastly Bones): I picked up Jackaby on a whim last year and loved it! Beastly Bones was just published and I need to go to the library to pick it up. I’m a sucker for anything Sherlock-esque and the supernatural bent just made it even better!

Natasha Pulley (The Watchmaker of Filigree Street): This was an uneven book for me but was intriguing enough that I’d really like to see another book by the author.

Eowyn Ivey (The Snow Child): Easily one of my best reads of 2015 and highly recommended to anyone who loves magical realism!

John Darnielle (Wolf in White Van): I can’t even wrap my head around the intricacies of the plotting. Blew me away.

John Scalzi (Lock In): An awesome sci-fi novel that even a non-sci-fi-fan could appreciate, thanks to an easy flow of writing and no technical jargon info-dumps.

Allie Brosh (Hyperbole and a Half): Apparently the sequel is due out next year!!! Brosh is hilarious but also wise, and a wonderful storyteller.

Erin Morgenstern (The Night Circus): I’ve been handed a lot of other books that are supposedly like The Night Circus and none have been nearly as magical. Sigh.

Book review: ‘The Heart Goes Last’ by Margaret Atwood

'The Heart Goes Last' by Margaret Atwood: great message, but horrible packaging.(Thanks to NetGalley for the review copy!)

This was one of those books that contained a lot of thought-provoking scenarios packaged in an utterly un-entertaining story. If I was looking at this book purely in light of possible book club discussions then I would have rated it much higher, but as something to read for fun, I hated it, and I only finished it because of a read-along.

Set in the near future, the plot follows a young couple, Stan and Charmaine, who have very nearly hit bottom. Living in their car, living hand to mouth in a world torn apart by greed and violence, they’re desperate for respite, so when they see an advertisement for a community called Consilience, they eagerly sign up. The housing project has a unique approach: live one month as a member of society, spend the next in the community prison; members alternate months and share a house with another couple, swapping back and forth and in exchange for their labor, receiving housing, meals, security—the whole nine yards. Of course, not everything is hunky-dory, and once Stan and Charmaine both develop obsessions with the “alternates” who share their home, their lives begin to fall apart. Consilience once seemed like a haven, but now even their “free” months are a prison.

Let’s first take a look at why this book didn’t work for me, after the jump!

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Book review: ‘Food: A Love Story’ by Jim Gaffigan

I found Jim Gaffigan's 'Food' to be a bit stale...(Thanks to Blogging For Books for the review copy!)

Warning: food puns ahead!

Imagine you see a stand-up comedian and think he’s pretty funny. Imagine he releases a book about, coincidentally, one of your all-time favorite topics–food!–and you salivate as you think “Wow, I can’t wait to read that! I bet it’s going to leave me in stitches!”

Now imagine that when you pick up said book, it turns out to be comprised in part of jokes you’ve already heard from his live routines. Like a day-old salad, this is disappointing, and yet you imagine that surely, no one would sell it if it wasn’t palatable. But furthermore, even those jokes that seemed so funny on stage have lost their luster in print, without inflection, facial expressions or body language to color the tone.

Such is the problem I had with Food, which seemed like it’d be hilarious but ended up feeling kind of stale. Even jokes that I found hilarious live didn’t impress me on the page.

There’s also the basic math problem of a 300+ page book dealing exclusively with one topic. How many topics do you think a comedian chows through in a one-hour special? After a while I had to put the book down because, as much as I love food, my fellow reviewers–I was tired of reading about it. I think this book might be better handled in very small portions, so you can chuckle and then move on to another course.

Food: A Love Story, by Jim Gaffigan (paperback, 352 pages). Published 2015 by Three Rivers Press. Genre: humor. Two out of five stars.