Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Book Review: The Inventor by Emily Organ


Goodreads Summary: London 1884. Electricity pioneer Simon Borthwick lights up Victorian London with a stunning illuminations display – then shoots himself in a hansom cab.
Plucky Fleet Street reporter Penny Green witnesses the inventor’s death and suspects the clue to his suicide lies in a mysterious letter he left behind. But can she persuade Inspector James Blakely of Scotland Yard that a crime has been committed?

Borthwick isn’t the only person who died that day, and Penny soon encounters a shadowy world which the police can’t get close to. When the intimidation begins, Penny starts to fear for her own safety. James does what he can to protect her, but is it enough?
Goodreads Rating: 4.27 with just around 200 ratings
Genre Listing: Historical Fiction, Mystery, Fiction
Get the Book: Amazon
Goodreads challenge: 17/30
2018 Reading Challenge: #15, A book in your favorite color (find the reading challenge here.)

Review:

I am so addicted to this series. I love how quick each book flows and gets right into the action. I've been jumping up and down since book one for others to read this series so that I can have someone to talk about it.

The thing I like about Penny is she's fairly independent. Yes, there are romantic interests, but for the most part, it doesn't wholly consume her thoughts. She's smart and puts pieces together in the crimes that others may not see (or don't want to see). The mystery aspect of it was interesting, but it didn't leave me on the edge of my seat like the rest of the series.

I thought the story behind "Maria" was interesting, but it definitely did not go the way I thought it was going to. I really got it in my head that "Maria" was going to be someone connected to Penny's father in some fashion. I did feel a little disappointed in this book regarding the plot behind her father's disappearance. It was mentioned, but I felt like it got pushed to the side in The Inventor. I'm actually really intrigued by where that storyline goes.

I'm kind of annoyed by the relationship between James and Penny at this point. It's bordering on an affair, and I don't care for it. Mr. Edwards kind of grew on me in this book, so I'm more curious to see where his relationship with Penny goes than James'. The dynamic between them just felt kind of weird and a little wrong in The Inventor. They were openly flirty with one another, and it just didn't fit in my mind. I'm pretty over James and Penny, but some of that may be because I started the next book on my lunch break today. I actually finished The Inventor a little bit ago, but haven't had the time to review it.

Overall, I liked The Inventor by Emily Organ, but it wasn't my favorite in the series. I'm hoping that Curse of the Poppy touches more on her dad's disappearance and the mystery behind it. As well as a budding relationship with Mr. Edwards.


Sunday, August 5, 2018

Book Review: Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon


Goodreads Summary:  From the author of Outlander... a magnificent epic that once again sweeps us back in time to the drama and passion of 18th-century Scotland...
For twenty years Claire Randall has kept her secrets. But now she is returning with her grown daughter to Scotland's majestic mist-shrouded hills. Here Claire plans to reveal a truth as stunning as the events that gave it birth: about the mystery of an ancient circle of standing stones ...about a love that transcends the boundaries of time ...and about James Fraser, a Scottish warrior whose gallantry once drew a young Claire from the security of her century to the dangers of his ....

Now a legacy of blood and desire will test her beautiful copper-haired daughter, Brianna, as Claire's spellbinding journey of self-discovery continues in the intrigue-ridden Paris court of Charles Stuart ...in a race to thwart a doomed Highlands uprising ...and in a desperate fight to save both the child and the man she loves...

Goodreads Rating: 4.32 stars with over 234,000 ratings
Genre Listing: Historical Fiction, Romance, Fantasy, Time Travel
Get the book: AmazonBook Depository
Goodreads Challenge: 16/30
2018 Reading Challenge: #50, A book over 500 pages ( see the reading challenge post here)
Other Review on the series: Outlander


Review:

I FINALLY finished this damn book. I started this book back in April, admittedly I wasn't reading it as quickly as I could have. I think I would have finished it a lot quicker if I had read it on Kindle instead of paperback. I swear big books seem way less daunting in e-book format. It doesn't help that I read mainly in bed, and haven't had that great of a book light to get through this at night. But I finally finished it.

I thought it was really interesting how Dragonfly in Amber started in the 1960's and works it's way back to how Claire got back to her own time. I will say that if you are the type of reader who needs to be instantly drawn into a book, this one may be a bit of a challenge for you. It was for me. I was immediately intrigued at the start when Claire was bringing Brianna and Roger into the story. However, when she starts discussing her life with Jamie in France, it gets a bit tedious.  There's a lot of espionage, but it's a lot of fancy dinner parties, pretending to be friendly with others, and stealing letters. There's not a ton of action at first. 

There were some subplots that I thought were interesting, and some that I thought were reasonably predictable. I do like that Claire starts considering the ramifications of her time traveling. I'd be curious to see if that's addressed more as the series continues. Because of just how much was going on in this book, I can't quite discern if she's changed anything in the book's history or not or if everything is just sort of a fixed point in time and going to happen regardless. Throughout the book there's a question of Frank's lineage and if the happenings are going to affect him ever being born. Claire keeps checking her ring as though it's proof, but honestly, throughout the interactions, I figured out fairly early on that his lineage wasn't precisely what he thought it was. 

Along with this line, there's a subplot regarding Roger and Gellis that I hope gets more attention in Voyager. I think it's fair to assume that Claire tries to go back in time to find Jamie, and I'm kind of curious to see what happens to Fergus. He somewhat felt like an adopted son and thought he was an excellent character addition. One of my favorite side characters in Dragonfly in Amber was Master Raymond. I have no idea why, but I somehow pictured him to be like Billy Crystal's character Miracle Max from Princess Bride. Once that got in my head I couldn't get it out, and it made any of Master Raymond's scenes a hoot to read. 

Overall, I loved Dragonfly in Amber. Diana Gabaldon does a fantastic job of combining fantasy elements with historical fiction elements. I love how she truly makes it feel realistic. She doesn't glamorize the past, she shows it gritty and dirty. I can't wait to read Voyager. Unfortunately, I'm probably going to put it off for a bit because I just don't have it in me right now to read another 900-page book. 







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Friday, July 20, 2018

Discussion: 5 Bookish Questions!



Hey, Hey readers! I thought it was long past time to do a discussion post. I think this is going to be a really fun one, and I hope you'll all join in on the fun in the comment section or on the facebook page at LinzTheBookworm.

I'm trying to get better at posting more frequently, and a while back a friend gave some suggestions for discussion topics she'd like to see on the blog. Another friend sent me a few different links to ideas as well. While I was going through them I realized that I probably couldn't do a full post for a lot of them, so I thought I'd do a 5 bookish questions thing.

5 Bookish Questions:

1.) What are your favorite kinds of books you like to read during certain seasons/moods and why? (Requested by a lovely reader, Danielle. Hi!!!) 
  • This is an interesting question for me because I don't really change my book tastes with the seasons and moods. My selection of what to read is entirely random at best. I do have some reading trends, but it's more based on what I've already finished reading. I tend to binge read series a lot. I'll think about a character like they're an old friend, wonder how they're doing and what they're up to and pick up where I left off in the series. I'll end up finishing the book and immediately go into the next book in the series because I feel like I need to stay on this adventure with them. I'll do this for a few books and then move on to something else. I will say if I start getting stuck in one genre for too long I'll find myself needing a break. Which is why you'll see a run of urban fantasy type things and then random historical fiction books. 
2.) What do you think makes a compelling romance in a book? (acquired from the list posted here on pages unbound.)
  • For me, I think a lot of it's the flaws in the romance being depicted and how deep the relationship actually is. I guess I want it to seem realistic. If the book's central love is primarily based on how attractive someone is and all of the good I'm going to give myself a migraine from how much I roll my eyes into the back of my skull. I want it to be gritty and ugly, and some days it's a struggle to like the other person kind of relationship. I'm actually reminded of the Velveteen Rabit by Margery Williams, and I honestly think it explains what I find most compelling for romances in books. The husband person and I actually had this bit from the book read at our wedding, so it's extremely important to me. “It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time.  That’s why it doesn’t happen to people who break easily or have sharp edges or who have to be carefully kept.  Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby.  But those things don’t matter at all because once you are real you can’t be ugly except to people who don’t understand.”  
  • TL;DR realistic ugliness that comes with relationships.
3.) What are some of your bookish pet peeves? (Also from Pages Unbound, see above for the link.) 
  • Part of my peeves was mentioned in the above question, actually. If a good chunk of a person's feelings for someone in a book is about their attractiveness and I'm hearing how they're so gorgeous someone is every 3rd sentence I'll eventually just get irate. 
  • An extensive vocabulary that's entirely out of place and has shitty context. Yippie Skippy for you. You found a Thesaurus. 
  • Books that actually don't need to be a series. It's completely okay to have a single book. Not everything needs to be a 15 book series. 
  • Series numbers are not on the books for all series. For the love of everything sane tell me on the dang cover what order in the series it is. My craptastic phone hardly ever works in stores. I don't have the time, energy, or patience to try and pull up a list of the series in a bookstore while I'm shopping.
4.) Do you read nonfiction? Why or why not? (Also from Pages Unbound, see above for the link.)
  • I very rarely read nonfiction. It's not something that I am usually drawn to. A good chunk of why I read the things I do is to escape- be it a stressful day, anxiety, or whatever else. I feel like reading nonfiction would defeat this purpose for me. .Nonfiction tends to make me think of educational reading, and as a full-time student, I don't even want to read the textbooks I'm required to read, let alone pick one up for funsies. 
5.)  What book did you receive as a gift that is really special to you? (Also from Pages Unbound, see above for the link.) 
  • I have two answers for this. The first is my set of Harry Potter books. My Mother-in-law is a Pre-school teacher and runs the Scholastic Books thing where she works. She had enough points to get this gorgeous set of all of the HP books, brand new, in a Hogwarts trunk. I actually refuse to read the books because this set is pristine. If I want to reread the HP series, I'll pull them up on Kindle, but those beauties they're staying in the trunk on display. Not only is it a really cool set, but it really means a lot to me that she used her points to get me the set. 
  • A few years ago, the husband face got me two really gorgeous book editions. One is Wicked and Son of a Witch, the other is Alice in Wonderland. They're large leather (or fake leather, not sure) bound books with gorgeous details. Not only are they pretty but I love anything to do with Wizard of Oz and also Alice in Wonderland. And of course, the Hubs picked them out. 
  • I was going to post pictures of both the trunk and the two leather bound books, but I'm lazy and don't want to get out from under my blankets. Using your imagination is good for you anyways.

So, there's my answer to 5 random bookish questions. This was kind of fun, and I still have a decent list of items from different blogs so I may make a few posts like this. I would love to read some answers below, so feel free to comment! If you have any questions or bookish topics you'd like to see me discuss let me know! I'm always open to suggestions, and if there's something you suggest it helps me get more posts out. 

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Book Review Pale Demon By Kim Harrison



Goodreads Summary: New York Times bestselling author Kim Harrison takes her indomitable heroine on a wild journey of dark magic and supernatural adventure.

Pale Demon
Condemned and shunned for black magic, Rachel Morgan has three days to get to the annual witches' convention and clear her name or be trapped in the demonic ever-after...forever after.

But a witch, an elf, a living vampire, and a pixy in one car going across the country? Talk about a recipe for certain disaster, even without being the targets for assassination.

For after centuries of torment, a fearsome demon walks in the sunlight - freed at last to slay the innocent and devour souls. But his ultimate goal is Rachel Morgan, and in the fight for survival that follows, even embracing her own demonic nature may not be enough to save her.

Goodreads Rating: 4.45 stars with over 40,000 ratings
Genre Listing: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Witches, Demons, Vampires
Get the Book: Amazon, Book Depository
Goodreads Challenge: 15/30
2018 Reading Challenge: #60, The Main Character has the same hair color that you do (Find the challenge here.)

Book Review:

I went into this book thinking it was going to be not as entertaining as the other books in the series. All of these characters in a car to go on a road trip? This is going to be boring. I should have known better because one minute I'm like 15% into the book, and then I'm at 65%, and it's 4:30 in the morning.  At this point, I didn't want to put it down, but my eyes were watering, and I had to force myself to take a break for some sleep. 

I was thrilled to see Rachel embrace her Demon status, and I loved what she did to the Everafter after accepting this new status. I was kind of hoping she'd stay there a little bit longer, but she quickly went back to the Hollows and found a way to stop her demon magic. A lot of her survival in this book is because of Trent, granted a lot of the trouble is because of Trent too. Given how the book ends, I think I see how the series is going to end as well.

I felt like this book was the start of some growing for Rachel and her friends. Ivy comes to terms with things and mentions how they're all starting to go different ways, which is true. I've already begun the next book in the series, and it touches on this quite a bit. So, I'm curious to see where Rachel's character grows from here.

I've been trying to think of what series' I can compare this with to give readers an idea of whether or not they'll like it or not. The series is highly regarded by Charlaine Harris, from what I can tell. So fans of Sookie Stackhouse will probably enjoy it as well. It actually reminds me of female-centered version of Jim Butcher's Dresden files as well. The entire series has a lot of snarky humor, a lot of action, an exciting world, a fantastic backstory for the characters and the magic, and is all around just great urban fantasy. I can't recommend this series enough.




Friday, June 22, 2018

Book Review of Black Magic Sanction by Kim Harrison

Goodreads Summary: Having barely escaped being skewered by the criminal vampire overlord of Cinncinati, Rachel now has even bigger problems to contend with. The demon, Algaliarept, although banished back into the everafter has infected others of his kind with his interest in a witch who can channel demon magic.
Goodreads Rating: 4.38 stars with over 40,000 ratings
Genre Listing: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Vampires, Witches, Demons
Get the Book: AmazonBook Depository
Goodreads Challenge: 14/30
2018 Reading Challenge: #22 A book about witches (Challenge can be found here.)
My Previous Reviews on the Series: White Witch Black CurseFor A Few Demons MoreThe Outlaw Demon Wails

Blog Housekeeping: 

This isn't anything super important, but apparently, some of my links in posts and the review list aren't working. I just figured it out when linking the previous review for The Hollows series. I just wanted to apologize for any frustration this may have caused. After I finish this review, I'm going to go through and make sure everything is working as it should. If I'm feeling ambitious, I might try to update the labels as well to be more helpful. No promises on that though. 

Book Review: 

This is honestly one of my favorite series. I love the world and imagery that Kim Harrison creates within her magical version of Cinncinati. This is the 8th book in the series, and I feel like every book leaves me hanging on the edge of my seat. Black Magic Sanction did not disappoint. This may have been one of my favorite books in the series, thus far. 

I'm going to give a little overview of Rachel Morgan's world for those of you who haven't started this series. I started reading it before I created this blog, so I only have a couple of the books reviewed.  Rachel Morgan started out as an "inlander" bounty hunter, inlander in this world is the paranormal. She worked alongside her partner a sassy foul-mouthed Pixie named Jenks. Rachel is an Earth Magic witch who has an unusual set of abilities for what she is. The one thing I like about this series is her abilities develops as the books go on.

I tend to read the books in this series sporadically. I'll read 2 or 3 of them, and then I tend to back off for a while before picking them up again. Because of this, my memory on the series is probably a bit fuzzy. Luckily, Kim Harrison does a great job of giving a recap while still keeping the story going forward. I've always felt that it's been an incredibly action-packed series, but I think this one was even more so. I finished it around 3:30 in the morning, and had to get the 9th book and start reading it instantly. I have problems, mainly not sleeping because there are books to read.

There's probably going to be some spoilers in the rest of this review. It's kind of hard to be eight books deep in a series and not give things away. I think that Black Magic Sanction showed Rachel's path a lot more. I've felt for some time she was going to sway more to the demon side, and I think this book more or less confirmed it. It's an interesting twist that in parts of the story Rachel felt more at home with Al in the Everafter instead of at home in her church and garden.

There's a lot of development between Rachel and Pierce in this book, and I loved it. Pierce is becoming one of my favorite characters in this series. He's extremely powerful, mysterious, and seemingly tows the line between good and evil. After a particular scene towards the end of the book, I'm interested to see where this goes...... Hello. ;)

I will say, one thing that I'm kind of over in this series is the sort of sexual tension between Rachel and Ivy. It doesn't seem authentic and comes across as forced because of the Vampire Phermones. I hope this sub-plot either goes away or gets more interesting to read. I'm kind of tired of reading about Nick too. He gets even slimier each book, but I think there was quite a bit more closure on his whole situation in Black Sanction Magic. Maybe in the next book he'll get sold for a nice room in the Everafter ;).

I always love this series. If you love a good Paranormal action/adventure type of series, I highly recommend it. If you're a sucker for details, Kim Harrison does a great job of really immersing the reader into the world. She's very descriptive, with the scenery, the actions, the magic, and even the backstory. It's very consuming. I'm going to post a few select quotes I highlighted from the book since this is the first one in the series that I've read on Kindle. I love being able to do this as it shows some of the things I find interesting and gives a sample at the writing style.

"I don't know why I'd brought him from home. It had been Ivy's idea, and when an anxious vampire tells you to take your fish, you take your fish." page 2

"Tink's a Disney whore!" page 96 (and throughout the book. This is Jenk's way of swearing.)

"With all the conveniences and clean simplicity we lived in, people had lost a lot of polish." page 142

"Happy endings were never handed out. You had to fight for them, earn them with bruised hearts and sacrifices." page 185

"Perception is everything, determining how others treat us. If enough people think you're a demon, you are." page 234

"Tears could not be equal if I wept diamonds from the skies," Jenks whispered, empty and bereft. "My word silent, though I should howl, muffled by death, my wings can't lift me high enough to find you. I feel you within. Unaware of my pain. Not knowing why I mourn." He lifted his eyes to mine, a glimmer of tears showing. "And why I breathe alone." Page 313 (Just go ahead and grab yourself a box of tissues when you get to this spot.)

"Go... to hell," she said, trying to spit on him only to have it drip down her own chin. "That's what I'm trying to do," he intoned." Page 337

"Rachel, don't threaten the gargoyle; they bite" page 348

"Wishes are lies. Tell me you're going to leave. Tell me you're not going to stay. Tell me that it's only for a while so I can enjoy today." page 440

"I cannot stay," he lied for me, eyes averted. "I'm only going to be here for a time, then leave you." His gaze met mine. "And I will cry when I go because I could love you forever." Page 440, in response to the previous quote

"It stinks of sex in here, God woman. I leave you alone for one night, and you're humping the ghost." page 447





Saturday, June 16, 2018

Book Review of Grave Peril by Jim Butcher


Goodreads Summary: In all his years of supernatural sleuthing, Harry Dresden has never faced anything like this: the spirit world's gone postal. These ghosts are tormented, violent, and deadly. Someone-or something-is purposely stirring them up to wreak unearthly havoc. But why? If Harry doesn't figure it out soon, he could wind up a ghost himself.

Goodreads Rating:
4.18 stars with over 114,000

Genre Listing:
Urban Fantasy, Mystery, Fiction, Paranormal, Magic

Get the Book: Amazon, Book Depository

Previous reviews on the series: Storm Front, Fool Moon

Goodreads Challenge:
13/30

Reading Challenge: #47 A book with a male main character, 2018 reading challenge can be found here.

Book Review:

I'm really starting to love this series. Jim Butcher wastes no time getting right into the action. Grave Peril picks up shortly after Fool Moon left off. It does a pretty good job of catching the reader up quickly, without bogging the story down with what already happened. It also goes into a bit more of Harry's backstory and introduces some new characters, that from my understanding are going to be reoccurring characters.

Grave Peril mostly focuses on the Vampire sects within Harry's world. I like how Butcher gave each group their own focus like he did with the Weres in Fool Moon. In Grave Peril, it addresses three groups of Vampires The Red, White, and Black. Each one has their own thing that gives them power. I think small details like this is what is getting me more and more hooked on this series.

In this book, Jim Butcher introduces us to Lea. Harry's Godmother, who is hella creepy. I'm assuming that she's going to come up quite a bit in future books, and with her is going to come a lot more backstory. If that's the case, I'm really excited to read these books. I still have so many questions about Harry's past that I think this would help answer.

I really enjoyed the inclusion of Michael and Charity. I thought Michael was an interesting contrast to Harry. The way that Charity goes off on Harry cracks me up. I'd really love to get some backstory on Michael and Charity. I'm curious to know how one becomes a Knight in Dresden's world. Also, THERE"S A FREAKING DRAGON. I seriously love the details that Butcher puts into his stories.

Susan gets herself into quite a bit of trouble in Grave Peril. I can't really say that I was surprised by it. I was warming up to her and Harry's relationship, but I really felt that she's been using him for the stories he could give her access to. With what happens in Grave Peril, I won't say she had it coming, but she definitely didn't do herself any favors.

I do wish this book would have had Karrin in it more. I understand why it didn't, but I enjoy the back and forth between her and Harry. There's always a lot of tension between the two of them, and I find it interesting. I'm really curious to know where the story goes next. For whatever reason, while I was reading this, it made me think of Kim Harrison's The Hollows series that I needed to finish. So instead of doing the smart thing and completing the other two books, I have in progress, I'm now reading another Paranormal series. I have issues.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Surprise Book Haul! 6/13/2018



It's that time of year again! Half Priced Book had their massive annual sale at one of the convention centers where everything is $2 or less. I actually didn't get to go this year because I was out of town during it, but my friend Leslie who I usually meet up with during the sale was kind enough to shop for me. Thanks, Leslie! I really didn't give her any guidelines other than a few pictures of my bookshelf to show her what I already have. So, I appreciate her just going into this totally blind. I hope it wasn't too crazy. She also let me snag some of the books from her collection that she was going to get rid of. So without further ado, This year's huge book haul! Be sure to read this haul post all the way to the end, there's a special offer for those who do. ;) 




Goodreads Summary: Weaving a brilliant latticework of family legend, loss, and love, Téa Obreht, the youngest of The New Yorker’s twenty best American fiction writers under forty, has spun a timeless novel that will establish her as one of the most vibrant, original authors of her generation.


In a Balkan country mending from years of conflict, Natalia, a young doctor, arrives on a mission of mercy at an orphanage by the sea. By the time she and her lifelong friend Zóra begin to inoculate the children there, she feels age-old superstitions and secrets gathering everywhere around her. Secrets her outwardly cheerful hosts have chosen not to tell her. Secrets involving the strange family digging for something in the surrounding vineyards. Secrets are hidden in the landscape itself.

But Natalia is also confronting a private, hurtful mystery of her own: the inexplicable circumstances surrounding her beloved grandfather’s recent death. After telling her grandmother that he was on his way to meet Natalia, he instead set off for a ramshackle settlement none of their family had ever heard of and died there alone. A famed physician, her grandfather must have known that he was too ill to travel. Why he left home becomes a riddle Natalia is compelled to unravel.

Grief struck and searching for clues to her grandfather’s final state of mind, she turns to the stories he told her when she was a child. On their weekly trips to the zoo he would read to her from a worn copy of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book, which he carried with him everywhere; later, he told her stories of his own encounters over many years with “the deathless man,” a vagabond who claimed to be immortal and appeared never to age. But the most extraordinary story of all is the one her grandfather never told her, the one Natalia must discover for herself. One winter during the Second World War, his childhood village was snowbound, cut off even from the encroaching German invaders but haunted by another, fierce presence: a tiger who comes ever closer under cover of darkness. “These stories,” Natalia comes to understand, “run like secret rivers through all the other stories” of her grandfather’s life. And it is ultimately within these rich, luminous narratives that she will find the answer she is looking for.


Goodreads Rating: 3.37 stars with over 78,000

Get the Book: AmazonBook Depository
Initial thoughts: The verbose summary on this one is a little daunting to me. I'm losing focus trying to read through it, so I'm hoping that's not an indication of how the actual book is going to be. I do think that I can fit this one on the 2018 book challenge though. I believe I still need something with an animal in the title. (You can find the challenge here.) Actually, this would work for a book about a doctor as well, so that's probably where I'll stick it. 




Goodreads Summary: 'When you read his extraordinary memoir you don't laugh, then cry, then laugh again; you somehow experience these emotions all at once.'


"Well, this was when Bill was sighing a lot. He had decided that after our parents died he just didn't want any more fighting between what was left of us. He was twenty-four, Beth was twenty-three, I was twenty-one, Toph was eight, and all of us were so tried already, from that winter. So when something would come up, any little thing, some bill to pay or decision to make, he would just sigh, his eyes tired, his mouth in a sorry kind of smile.

But Beth and I...Jesus, we were fighting with everyone, anyone, each other, with strangers at bars, anywhere -- we were angry people wanting to exact revenge. We came to California and we wanted everything, would take what was ours, anything within reach. And I decided that little Toph and I, he with his backward hat and long hair, living together in our little house in Berkeley, would be world-destroyers. We inherited each other and, we felt, a responsibility to reinvent everything, to scoff and re-create and drive fast while singing loudly and pounding the windows. It was a hopeless sort of exhilaration, a kind of arrogance born of fatalism, I guess, of the feeling that if you could lose a couple of parents in a month, then basically anything could happen, at any time -- all bullets bear your name, all cars are there to crush you, any balcony could give way; more disaster seemed only logical.

And then, as in Dorothy's dream, all these people I grew up with were there, too, some of them orphans also, most but not all of us believing that what we had been given was extraordinary, that it was time to tear or break down, ruin, remake, take and devour. This was San Francisco, you know, and everyone had some dumb idea -- I mean, wicca? -- and no one there would tell you yours was doomed. Thus the public nudity, and this ridiculous magazine, and the Real World tryout, all this need, most of it disguised by sneering, but all driven by a hyper-awareness of this window, I guess, a few years when your muscles are taut, coiled up and vibrating. But what to do with the energy? I mean, when we drive, Toph and I, and we drive past people, standing on top of all these hills, part of me wants to stop the car and turn up the radio and have us all dance information, and part of me wants to run them all over."
 
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Goodreads rating: 3.68 stars with over 155,000 ratings
Get the book: AmazonBook Depository
Initial thoughts: I have zero clue what this book is about. I feel like the summary is just snippets of the book and don't really tell me anything. I do like the title though, and that catches my interest. It's won quite a few awards, so I'm pretty sure I can use it on the challenge somewhere. I'll probably stick it on #7, a book on a best seller list. 

Goodreads Summary: In the Pyrenees mountains near Carcassonne, Alice, a volunteer at an archaeological dig, stumbles into a cave and makes a startling discovery-two crumbling skeletons, strange writings on the walls, and the pattern of a labyrinth. Eight hundred years earlier, on the eve of a brutal crusade that will rip apart southern France, a young woman named Alais is given a ring and a mysterious book for safekeeping by her father. The book, he says, contains the secret of the true Grail, and the ring, inscribed with a labyrinth, will identify a guardian of the Grail. Now, as crusading armies gather outside the city walls of Carcassonne, it will take a tremendous sacrifice to keep the secret of the labyrinth safe. 

Goodreads Rating: 3.55 stars with over 42,000 ratings
Get the book: AmazonBook Depository
Initial thoughts: So far, this is probably the book I'm most excited for. I've been eying this one for some time, so I'm happy that Leslie picked it out for me (without me even mentioning it, too!) I have no idea where on the challenge this one is going to fit, but I'll find a spot for it.




Goodreads Summary: The triumphant follow-up to the bestselling Bee Season, Wickett's Remedy is an epic but intimate novel about a young Irish-American woman facing down tragedy during the Great Flu epidemic of 1918. 

Wickett's Remedy leads us back to Boston in the early part of the 20th century and into the world of Lydia, an Irish-American shop girl yearning for a grander world than the cramped confines of South Boston. She seems to be well on her way to the life she has dreamed of when she marries Henry Wickett, a shy medical student and the scion of a Boston Brahmin family. Soon after their wedding, however, Henry shocks Lydia by quitting medical school and creating a mail-order patent medicine called Wickett's Remedy. And then just as the enterprise is getting off the ground, the Spanish Influenza epidemic of 1918 begins its deadly sweep across the world, drastically changing their lives. 
In a world turned almost unrecognizable by swift and sudden tragedy, Lydia finds herself working as a nurse in an experimental ward dedicated to understanding the raging epidemic -- through the use of human subjects. 
Meanwhile, we follow the fate of Henry's beloved Wickett's Remedy as his one-time business partner steals the recipe and transforms it into QD Soda, a wildly popular soft drink. 
Based on years of research and evoking actual events, Wickett's Remedy perfectly captures the texture of the times and brings a colourful cast of characters vividly to life, including a sad and funny chorus of the dead. With wit and dexterity, Goldberg has fashioned a novel that is both charming and grand. Wickett's Remedy announces her arrival as a major novelist. "South Boston belonged to Lydia as profoundly and wordlessly as her thimble finger. Her knowledge of its streets was more complete than any atlas, her mental maps reflecting changes that occurred from season to season, day to day, and hour to hour. Each time she left 28 D Street -- one among a row of identical triple-decker houses, the tenements lining the street like so many stained teeth -- her route reflected this internal almanac. . . . 
For ten years this was enough. Then in fifth grade, Lydia saw a city map and realized her entire world was a mitten dangling from Boston's sleeve. Across the bridge lay Washington Street -- the longest street in all New England -- which began like any other but then continued north, a single determined thread of cobblestone that wove itself through every town from Boston to Providence. Once Lydia saw Washington Street she knew she could not allow it to exist without her.

Goodreads Rating: 3.26 stars with over 1700 reviews
Get the Book: AmazonBook Depository
Initial Thoughts: I can't figure out if this is a sequel or not. It doesn't seem like it, but the words "follow-up" and "leads us back" make me unsure. If anyone's read this or Bee Season, please let me know if I need to read Bee Season first.  Starting off, I LOVE the old-timey medicinal bottle look for the cover. Such a cool cover. The story sounds really interesting, and right up my alley. So I'm pretty excited to read this one. I might be able to fit this one on the challenge for a book about a doctor, but I'll have to see if there's somewhere else it fits better.  (If you haven't noticed, where I can put it on my reading challenge is front and center this year with what books I read.)



Goodreads Summary: Louisa Clark is an ordinary young woman living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has never been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex-Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair-bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life—big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel—and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is.


Will is acerbic, moody, bossy—but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living.

A love story for this generation, Me Before You brings to life two people who couldn’t have less in common—a heartbreakingly romantic novel that asks, What do you do when making the person you love happy also means breaking your own heart?
Goodreads Rating: 4.27 stars with over 830,000 ratings
Get the Book: Amazon Book Depository
Initial Thoughts: I'm going to cry when I read this, aren't I? Yep. Definitely going to cry. I can feel it coming. Couldn't tell you why, but this already reminds me of The Fault In Our Stars, which was also recommended to me by Leslie. I'm mildly concerned that she recommends books that may make me cry. :( Of the top of my head, I have no idea where I'm going to put this on my reading challenge.

Goodreads Summary: Detective Mike Hoolihan has seen it all. A fifteen-year veteran of the force, she's gone from walking a beat, to robbery, to homicide. But one case--this case--has gotten under her skin.

When Jennifer Rockwell, darling of the community and daughter of a respected career cop--now top brass--takes her own life, no one is prepared to believe it. Especially her father, Colonel Tom. Homicide Detective Mike Hoolihan, longtime colleague and friend of Colonel Tom, is ready to "put the case down." Suicide. Closed. Until Colonel Tom asks her to do the one thing any grieving father would ask: take a second look.

Not since his celebrated novel Money has Amis turned his focus on America to such remarkable effect. Fusing brilliant wordplay with all the elements of a classic whodunit, Amis exposes a world where surfaces are suspect (no matter how perfect), where paranoia is justified (no matter how pervasive), and where power and pride are brought low by the hidden recesses of our humanity.

Goodreads Rating: 3.23 stars with over 3,800 ratings
Get the Book: AmazonBook Depository
Initial Thoughts: This seems like a really interesting mystery. I'm not quite sure where I'll put it on my challenge list, but I'm mostly glad it's only 170ish pages. It'll be a nice quick read for challenge filler, and considering I'm behind on my Goodreads challenge that's what I need. 

Goodreads Summary: With precisely 35 canvases to his credit, the Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer represents one of the great enigmas of 17th-century art. The meager facts of his biography have been gleaned from a handful of legal documents. Yet Vermeer's extraordinary paintings of domestic life, with their subtle play of light and texture, have come to define the Dutch golden age. His portrait of the anonymous Girl with a Pearl Earring has exerted a particular fascination for centuries - and it is this magnetic painting that lies at the heart of Tracy Chevalier's second novel of the same title.
Girl with a Pearl Earring centers on Vermeer's prosperous Delft household during the 1660s. When Griet, the novel's quietly perceptive heroine, is hired as a servant, turmoil follows. First, the 16-year-old narrator becomes increasingly intimate with her master. Then Vermeer employs her as his assistant--and ultimately has Griet sit for him as a model.
Goodreads Rating: 3.86 stars with over 530,000 ratings
Get the book: AmazonBook Depository
Initial Thoughts: I've thought about getting this one several times when I've been at various bookstores. Not really sure why I never did. I'm pretty excited to read this one because of it. One of the later reading challenge topics is A Book with woman or girl in the title. So I'll probably stick this there once I read it. 
Goodreads Summary: Imagine you can hear everything the town of men say about you. And they can hear everything you think. Imagine you don't fit into their plans. Todd Hewitt is just one month away from the birthday that will make him a man. But his town has been keeping secrets from him. Secrets that are going to force him to run.
Goodreads Rating: 3.97 stars with over 123,000 ratings
Get the Book: AmazonBook Depository
Initial Thoughts: I'm pretty intrigued by this one. I've been thinking I need to pick up another dystopian series, so I'm hoping this is a good one. Not sure where I'll put this on the challenge, but I'm sure it will fit somewhere. 

Goodreads Summary: Contains the novels Wild Seed, Mind of My Mind, Clay's Ark, and Patternmaster.

In her classic Patternist series, multiple Hugo and Nebula award winner Octavia E. Butler established themes of identity and transformation that echo throughout her distinguished career. Now collected for the first time in one volume, these four novels take readers on a wondrous odyssey from a mythic, prim/ordial past to a fantastic far future.
In ancient Africa, a female demigod of nurture and fertility mates with a powerful, destructive male entity. Together they birth a race of madmen, visionaries, and psychics who cling to civilization's margins and back alleys for millenia, coming together in a telepathic Pattern just as Earth is consumed by a cosmic invasion. Now these new beings--no longer mearly human--will battle to rule the transfigured world.
Goodreads Rating: 4.32 stars with over 3,000 ratings
Get the Book: AmazonBook Depository
Initial Thoughts: This one pretty much had me at "Demigod" I love mythology and haven't read a good mythology book in a while. I really like that this is books 1-4 of the series. It should keep me busy for a while. 


I'm not actually going to do a review on this one. I saw that Leslie had a jewelry design book, and I figure I can always use more references. I'm mainly showcasing this on this post to do some shameless self-promotion of my jewelry business. I've been making jewelry for 20 years off and on, and have recently re-opened my Etsy shop where I have unique and one of a kind bracelets, earrings, and necklaces. From now until July 15,2018 and use the coupon code LINZTHEBOOKWORM at check out you'll get 15% off regularly priced items. Coupon is not valid for items in the sale/clearance album.  The Etsy shop can be found here