What’s On Our Shelf – September 2018

See what we are reading this month!

 

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AJ:

I have been having better reading months since I went back to studying online and I am hoping to finish at least 10 books during the month of September.

Top Recommendation from August:

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain

In Quiet, Susan Cain argues that we dramatically undervalue introverts and shows how much we lose in doing so.

Carrying over from August:

Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult.

June’s husband and first daughter were killed several years ago and their murderer is on death row. Her second daughter needs a heart transplant but the only match is the murderer. 

I picked this one up at a second hand book shop last month and got through 150 pages in one sitting and it’s been sitting beside my bed ever since.

11.22.63 by Stephen King

Jake has the chance to go back in time and change the day that President J.F. Kennedy was assassinated.

This is the first King I have ever read and it is not a horror. However it is a tome and it’s going to take me a while to get through. Christian listened to this one on Audible several months ago and has been begging me to read it since.

Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge:

(You can see the list here)

This month I want to try and knock two off this list by reading Mrs Dalloway and Middlesex.

Series:

Before Kingdom of Ash (if you haven’t pre-ordered this yet, what are you waiting for?) is released on October 23, I am wanting to finish the Throne of Glass novels. I am 60 pages into Heir of Fire as I write this.

Bookclub Reads:

My favorite online Bookclub does not have set books but rather themes/tags/shelves from which people recommend and read books with the aim of stretching their reading habits. View the bookclub here. This months theme is “friendship”:

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

Theodore Finch who thinks about death often and Violet Markey who is filled with grief from her sisters death tour their state to find natural wonders. But as Violet’s world grows, Theodore’s begins to shrink.

Another book that Christian recommended to me

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.

Who can resist a description like that? And it’s YA that will apparently make me cry and so that sold me even more.

Christian Books:

I’m trying to incorporate reading Christian books into my Quiet Time and this month I would like to get through two.

Grace is Greater by Kyle Idleman

This Changes Everything by Jacquelle Crowe

Random “Looks Interesting” Reads:

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonassen

Christian:

Legendary by Stephanie Garber

A heart to protect. A debt to repay. A game to win. I’m about 100 pages into this exciting sequel to Caraval and already my heart has been stolen. The first book in this series was one of my favorites I’ve read all year.

One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus

A child dies in detention and just like that this book takes off. My fiancée recommended this one to me and I’m about an hour in on the audible version.

Dune by Frank Herbert

Up until a few weeks ago, I had never actually heard of this book. I read Ender’s Game earlier this year and absolutely adored it, so in my search to find another science fiction read that would be close to as enjoyable, AJ found Dune for me. It’s a rather long one, so I’m not sure if I will finish it this month, but I will certainly try.

Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

Steinbeck has been on my list for a million years and it seems like a good time to attempt one of his books.

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

This is a must-read for me. I’m going to be reading and likely reviewing this book in the next few weeks and simultaneously accomplishing one of my bucket-list reading goals.

Divergent

I should receive props for this one. I’m flying all the way to South Africa to get a copy of this. Well, that’s not exactly the only reason I’m going to South Africa, but definitely going to be an exciting bonus!

Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge:

My fiancée has gotten me into Gilmore Girls lately and together we are attempting to accomplish the reading challenge (see list here). This month my goal is to read/finish The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway. I’m about 70 pages in already and it is very reminiscent of The Great Gatsby, which is one of my all-time favorite books, so I’m rather excited for this Hemingway classic.

 

(Please note that clicking the links in this post will take you to the purchase page on Amazon. Buying from these links means that we get a small percentage in return.)

5 Books AJ Can’t Wait For

One of my favorite parts of being a reader is scouting out new books. I like to read blogs, see what people are adding to their “Want to Read” shelves on Goodreads, keep up with reviewers on Twitter and in general I honestly just spend a lot of time on Amazon. The following books* are being released over the last few months of the year and I am super excited about them:

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Sadie by Courtney Summers

Release date: September 4

Sadie is out to find her sister’s killer.

I don’t know much about this book. But its cover caught my eye several months ago and I have been excited to get my hands on it ever since.

Pre-order the book here

 

The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White9780525707936-2

Release date: September 25

Elizabeth’s survival depends on keeping the dark temperamental Victor Frankenstein content.

This book sounds freaky and fantastic. I love the cover and I am excited for what I think will be a fairly unique read.

Pre-order the book here

 

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A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult

Release date: October 2

A shooter opens fire at a women’s reproductive health services clinic.

Jodi Picoult is probably my all time favorite author. I have read 17 of her 23 published books and I plan to pick up this book pretty much the day it is published

Pre-order the book here

 

51L8BF5PZ3L Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty

Release date: November 6

Nine people meet at a remote health resort hoping to find healing for their various ailments.

I am new to the Liane Moriarty boat but I did find Big Little Lies to be very interesting and this one had a fascinating blurb.

Pre-order book here

 

32469736The Disasters by M.K. England

Release Date: December 18

Nax’s one-way trip back to Earth is cut short when a terrorist group attacks the Academy.

This is a new author and I saw her tweet a while ago and looked up the book and suddenly put this on the “buy myself for Christmas” list.

Pre-order book here

*I have excluded follow up books from series

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

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Cather is a freshman in college. She has always had her twin sister Wren by her side but now Wren wants to experience college life without the “built in best friend” benefit. Cather finds herself with a scary roommate and feeling alone. She wants nothing more than to go back to the way things were, with Wren and her attached at the hip again. But in this time of distress, who else could she turn to but Simon Snow, the main character of the book series she and Wren have followed obsessively since their mother left them when they were kids.

Ok, my summary is terrible. But I enjoyed this book so much that I am scared to give more information for fear of spoiling it for you. I was expecting something else from this book, but it was so much better than I thought it would be.

Now, I’m not sure that everyone else would love this book as much as I did. It was well written and sweet and I think that is what most people would see in it. But I saw myself in Cather. I know what it’s like to feel completely alone in a place where I am unfamiliar and feel almost paralysed by that fear. I completely understand staying holed up in my dorm room wanting to interact with no one and simply write and read. To not go looking for the cafeteria and to sit in my room eating protein bars. To become completely obsessed, for lack of a better word, with a series and not be able to think past it. To not even start a project because I feel that I simply cannot do it so I am not even going to try.

I listened to this on audio but I am going to buy myself a copy of the book. I am not such a fan of the language or the gay fanfiction; but for the reasons above this will be one of my favourites for a long while.

Buy Fangirl Here

Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman

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Callum McGreggor is a nought, he is pale skinned. Persephone (Sephy) Hadley is a Cross, she is dark skinned. Crosses and noughts do not mix and they are never friends. There is a clear divide between the two and the Crosses are superior to the noughts simply because of their coveted dark skin. Crosses are there to rule the world and hold all the good jobs, noughts are there to serve them. But Callum and Sephy have been friends since they were kids. Can they stay strong in a world of noughts and Crosses?

The idea behind this story was good. I really enjoyed the plot, and since I enjoy dystopian that doesn’t follow the typical themes this suited suited my reading tastes. I felt the way it played out was realistic and the characters were believable. I liked how this idea was a twist on what we already know and I admire the author for undertaking this feat.

But there were a lot of problems with this book. In the beginning I felt patronised because the writing was childish: “He actually kissed me! Wowee! Zowee!” – I have never heard anyone say “zowee” and I felt like she was overemphasizing the immaturity of a fourteen-year-old.

For quite a way through the book “noughts” has a lower case “n” and “Crosses” an upper case “C”. I remember thinking this was an interesting way to show that Crosses are more important and noughts are lesser. But then towards the end of the book they became “Noughts” and “Crosses”, both with upper case starting letters and no reason for the switch. This annoyed me a little bit because it felt like the author had let something symbolic slip.

As someone who has read many articles on writing, I know that common writing advice is to keep the reader hooked by never finishing a chapter or even a scene with closure. Rather the reader should be baited into reading more by have something new and exciting happen. Blackman tried hard to do this, several times, but she didn’t execute it well enough. For example she would say something like “I was shocked to hear what she had to say” at the end of the chapter but then when I turned the page, it wouldn’t tell me what “she” had to say but other random events would occur and only several pages and scenes later would she get back to that point. This honestly just left me frustrated because it was too easy to forget things that had happened and it interrupted the flow.

The book was also just a little bit slow. It took me four days to read the 446 page book, and it had big print. I should have been done a lot faster than that (particularly since I was up until 1 or 2 in the morning reading when I couldn’t sleep). But because it felt set up to drag me into it, I was unable to get lost in the book.

So in conclusion, the story and plot were good. The basic idea behind the book was good too. The execution, not nearly up to standard. It simply wasn’t all it could have been.

Buy Noughts and Crosses Here