Book 489: How to Survive a Summer – Nick White

I wanted to like this so much more than I did. And this says a lot about both myself and the book/writer. Even though my response isn’t that friendly to the book there were some occasional one liners that made me smile.

When I requested a copy of this book from the publisher,* I wanted to identify with the characters, I wanted to revel in our shared experiences of growing up in the south during a certain time, but I just couldn’t.

Perhaps this is because I didn’t grow up in the deep south (I grew up in a military town in NC) or maybe because my family wasn’t too religious, (we went to church some times, but we were Episcopalian and compared to other southern denominations, they’re pretty damn liberal), or perhaps it’s just because of the writing or the non-shared experiences of the book that i just couldn’t click with it.

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Book 473: Dreadnought (Nemesis #1) – April Daniels

daniels-april-dreadnought-nemesis-1WHY IS IT SO LONG UNTIL THE NEXT IN THE SERIES IS RELEASED!!?!?!?!?!!

It’s very rare that a book will grab me and keep me reading through a whirlwind of emotions. I’m so grateful someone from the publisher reached out to me about this book.* All I knew going in is that the main character is LGBT (she’s transgender, but also a lesbian) and this is a superhero story. It didn’t hurt that it was a young adult book (yay more diversity).

The publisher didn’t compare it to Perry Moore’s Hero, which I thoroughly enjoyed, and I think it deserves a mention. Although it’s about a cisgendered (born and identified) male, the group of quirky superheroes in that book reminded me a lot of where I’m hoping Dreadnought will go in the series. Continue reading

Book 462: The Courtesan – Alexandra Curry

curry-alexandra-the-courtesanWhen Dutton reached out to me about a copy* of this book for its new paperback release I jumped at it because of my trip to China this summer! What I didn’t realize was that it was predominantly set in two of the cities I visited: Suzhou and Beijing! It was really neat to read through the fictionalized life of Sai Jinhua and actually feel like I know what and where she was talking about for the post part!

This is a debut novel that I probably would not have read just because I don’t read too many, but with my trip to China, the cover and having someone reach out to me about it, I figured I would give it a chance and I’m glad I did. Add in that the book also featured a subplot line about the one non-English classic from Asia I chose for my Classics Club list: Dream of the Red Chamber and it was well worth the read.

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Book 459: Girl Underwater – Claire Kells

kells-claire-girl-underwaterI’m not one to generally read debut novels unless I hear from a friend that it’s great. However, with all of the great books coming out of Dutton recently, when they reached out to me about this one and I was intrigued by the blurb, I of course said yes.*

This being said, I of course probably should’ve re-read the blurb on the back before I started, but I didn’t and it was a bit of a shocker to all of a sudden be thrown into a plane crash! But if I would’ve re-read the blurb I would’ve remembered that it was set in Boston, and a large part of my excitement reading the book would’ve been lost! Thankfully, it was well written and interesting AND I got to experience the Boston portions as if I had NO idea (because I didn’t) that they were there! Seriously, she spent a half page on Anna’s Taqueria! [Anna’s website] Swoon!

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Book 441: The Madwoman Upstairs – Catherine Lowell

Lowell, Catherine - The Madwoman UpstairsBack-to-back Brontë fan-fictions you say? Hell yes, I say! I honestly didn’t plan it this way, but both books were burning holes on my TBR pile and I wanted to read them before I headed out to China.

I really do need to up my game though, I had no idea this (or Jane Steele) were coming out this year. Unlike Jane Steele, this one doesn’t seem to be making as big of a splash. It could be because it’s a debut novel, or it could be because it’s by a smaller publisher, but I couldn’t tell you for sure what it is.

I know I stumbled across The Madwoman Upstairs after I finally got around to reading an article from The Daily Beast titled Life Lessons From the Brontë Sisters (article link). So of course I reached out to the publisher and they kindly sent a review copy*, which once I started reading I blazed through.

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Book 398: Ally Hughes Has Sex Sometimes – Jules Moulin

Moulin, Jules - Ally Hughes Has Sex SometimesThis novel was such a fun quick read that I’m so glad I took a chance and said yes to the publisher when they reached out to me with a copy.* It didn’t hurt that they suggested I read this piece in the New York Times first and I laughed out loud multiple times (the animation is an added bonus!).

I had very little knowledge or expectations going into Ally Hughes Has Sex Sometimes other than thinking it was a quirky title and it was a debut novel. I didn’t even know it was set in Providence, Rhode Island until I started reading and did a double-take when they started naming locations around Brown University that I’ve been to. So obviously it got bonus points for that too! We all know I’m a sucker for books set in locations I have fond memories of.

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Book 397: The Beans of Egypt, Maine – Carolyn Chute

Chute, Carolyn - The Beans of Egypt, MaineMy friend Carlie (Hi Carlie!), recommended this book way back when I started this blog not long after she recommended The Hunger Games and I picked up a copy back in December 2012. I don’t know why it took so long for me to get around to it, but it did. I should’ve known better based on how much I enjoyed The Hunger Games trilogy and The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, another of her discoveries.

This book really should be mentioned in the same breath of books like The Color Purple and Bastard Out of Carolina. Maybe it is and I’m not aware of it, but if it isn’t I’m not sure why. It was published in 1985 right in between the Color and Carolina and it’s just as harrowing, real and disturbing as either of those. (It’s also compared to Faulkner, but I can’t speak to that as I’ve never read him.)

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