Fangirl- Rainbow Rowell

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(Rainbow Rowell, 2013)

From the author of the New York Times bestseller Eleanor & Park. A coming-of-age tale of fan fiction, family and first love. 

Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan…

But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving. Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words… And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this? Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind? 

(via Goodreads)

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What I Liked

  • Characters
    • I really liked all these characters to be honest. I think Reagan and Levi are my favorite by far, but I surprisingly really related to Cath (HATE the name Cather) which obviously means I liked her. You could say I was “rooting for her” through the whole story. I felt bad for the dad, and Wren kind of annoyed me, but redeemed herself by the end.
  • College age!
    • So thrilled that this was a cast of college aged characters! I know YA is meant for teens but the reality is that many adults are drawn to the YA genre, so it was refreshing to have characters who are not in high school. They were so natural, I felt like I knew them in my own college days.
  • The Cover
    • Can I do a book review without mentioning the cover? Apparently not. What can I say? I am a visual person, and pretty covers make me happy. Actually- this book has several different covers but this is the one that I read (which is my favorite color too!). Sorry about the poor lighting in the photo at the top. I actually took a picture of my own book this time (instead of finding one on the internet) and my apartment doesn’t have the best lighting :]
  • Cameos
    • I kind of love that Rowell seems to feature her characters in more than just the books they starred in. I mean there is the obvious presence of Simon and Baz in Fangirl (when they have their own book called Carry On), and it sounds like Cath and Levi made an appearance in her book Landlines as well (ever so briefly). I think that gesture is exactly the right way to “nod” (if you will) to her loyal fans for continuing to support her writing.
  • Character drawings inside of book
    • Surprisingly, this helped a lot as the characters were introduced. I really appreciated having a face/image already associated with the name as I went along, and found myself referring back to the images often. For those who didn’t know, this was on the inside of the cover of my book :]
    • Related image And a closer look at the drawing: Image result for fangirl characters

What I Disliked

  • Simon & Baz
    • Honestly, I cannot tell if this is actually a part that I disliked or not. It bothered me and then it didn’t, and then it bothered me again. I know that a lot of fans of this book (and Carry On) said that it really reads like a gay Harry Potter fanfiction, but I guess I wasn’t expecting it to SO MUCH like Harry Potter that it made me cringe. Honestly, if anything, it is making me second guess whether I want to read Carry On or not. I DID like the little snippets of Simon before each chapter.
  • Laura
    • With the exception of Laura, I  did like the majority of the characters. I have to agree with Cath on this one though. SPOILER-I don’t think that Laura deserved the time of day. She clearly was still uninterested in the girls with that whole hospital scene, and that honestly makes me so angry. I know that unfortunately there are a lot of parents who feel that their children robbed them of their fun and youth, but it is just despicable behavior, and I hated every moment that she was in/mentioned.
  • The ending!
    • I hate how it feels like nothing got tied up at the end. SPOILERS It’s great that you know at least that she completed her fiction project, which, if you ask me, Cath was being a little baby about the whole time. But- I would have liked to know that her and Levi made it work during the summer, and that her second year at least started out alright. Idk, some kinda closure would have been nice… I also made the mistake of reading the FAQ section immediately after and got excited when Rowell said that she wasn’t done with the characters yet and that’s why she hasn’t read any of the Fangirl fanfiction… but this came out it 2013, and I would really like to know if there is a sequel in the works or not, because ya girl needs to know what happens next.

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Final Thoughts

I honestly cannot tell if this was something I appreciated or disliked, so I left it out of the points at the top. I am still exploring how I feel about Cath and her Fiction Writing class. SPOILER- I can’t tell if I hated how Cath acted toward the final project or deeply related to it. I mean I can say for sure that I absolutely have done what she did by refusing to do a huge part of your final grade, simply because I didn’t want to. And that bothered me a lot. It bothered me that she acted like a baby about it, but it also bothered me that I saw a lot of myself in her reaction to the assignment. I still don’t know how I feel about this part of the book, but I am proud of her for finishing.

I agree with Rowell though, one of my favorite parts after I finished reading the book was looking at all the fanart of the characters! It is so entertaining and fun to look at the different versions of the characters I love, and mix and match the ones that were closer to what I had in my head :]

Regardless, I was pleasantly surprised by this one! At first the size kind of intimidated me but I literally finished it in a matter of days. It flowed so easily and was absolutely enjoyable. I want to read more of Rowell’s work (with perhaps the exception of Carry On, which I may no longer be able to bring myself to read) in the future. I am glad that I own this one, because I can see it being an easy re-read. I am also really glad that it lived up to the hype. Usually, I go into books that everyone else has read super skeptical, but Rowell certainly delivered a cute, fun story that I am sure to enjoy many times over. It made me miss reading fanfiction, back when I read it so so long ago (I even, in middle school, wrote a little bit of Yu-gi-oh fanfiction), though I doubt I will go back.

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What do you guys think? Have you read this before, or any other books by Rainbow Rowell? What was your reactions to my thoughts? Let’s chat :]

 

on deck book On Deck: 

Not That I Could Tell by Jessica Strawser

adult book

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First Impression Friday – Not That I Could Tell

Hey ya’ll! I am coming at ya with a brand new “weekly” meme thanks to my friend Joe over @ Storeys of Stories! I really liked this idea because it is less commitment on my part (I don’t have to do it EVERY week, only when I start a new book).

Straight from the horse’s mouth (if you will):

First Impression Friday will be a meme where you talk about a book that you JUST STARTED! Maybe you’re only a chapter or two in, maybe a little farther.  Based on this sampling of your current read, give a few impressions and predict what you’ll think by the end.  Did you think you’d love it and ended up hating it? Or did you think you’d hate it and wound up loving it? Or were you exactly right? I think what will really make this meme a lot of fun, is linking back to it from your review to say, “Look at how wrong I was!” OR “See? I knew it all along!”

This week I started:

Not That I Could Tell by Jessica Strawser

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Goodreads

I literally JUST picked this book up. Funny story, I had this post featuring Fangirl all ready to go, and then I finished the book…Wednesday night… so clearly I had to pick something different.

My BOTM shelf is getting too crowded so I decided that I should try to clear some of it out before May’s selection(s) come in. This one has just been calling to me since I selected it a few months ago. Truthfully, after the fail that was Truly Madly Guilty, and the AMAZINGNESS that was The Wife Between Us, I am unsure how this one will fall. The description sounds A LOT like Truly Madly Guilty (everything that I liked about it, or thought I was going to like) so I am intrigued. I am only a couple pages into the book so far though, so I can’t say for sure what I think will happen. I am going to predict a 3/5 stars for now.

If you would like to participate in this meme, please make sure to link back to Joe, since he is the creator :]

My Blog’s Name in Books

Rules: 

1.  Spell out your blog’s name. (this is where you wish your blog’s name was shorter LOL)

2. Find a book from your TBR that begins with each letter. (Note you cannot ADD to your TBR to complete this challenge – the books must already be on your Goodread’s TBR)

3. Have fun!  

Anyone who wants to join in is welcome to use the graphic
as long as they link back to Fictionophile.

So Thank You Fictionophile for creating such a fun (and devastatingly long) tag that I am sure to devour! I actually saw this as a reblog from Leave Me Alone I am Reading and Reviewing, so thanks to her for posting (or rather, re-posting)!

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MODERN WITCH’S BOOKSHELF

 

 

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M- My Name is Venus Black by Heather Lloyd

O- Other People’s Houses by Abbi Waxman

D- Dread Nation by Justina Ireland

E- Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi

R- Renegades by Marissa Meyer

N- Nerve by Jeanne Ryan

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W- (the) Westing Game by Ellen Raskin

I- I have Lost My Way by Gayle Forman

T- They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

C- Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

H- Hello Sunshine by Laura Dave

S- Sunburn by Laura Lippman

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B- Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate

O- On the Come Up by Angie Thomas

O- Orphan Island by Laurel Snyder

K- (the) Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

S- Seven Days of Us by Francesca Hornak

H- (the) Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

E- Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

L- Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Relly

F- From Twinkle With Love by Sandhya Menon

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Surprisingly, That was NOT nearly as hard as I thought it would be! Granted, when you have almost 500 books on your Goodreads TBR, it is easy enough to order the list alphabetically and pick from there…

I know ya’ll have read some of these already. What did you think of them? Do they belong on my TBR? Which ones are on your TBR as well? Any you cannot wait to get to? Let’s chat! There are so many books to talk about!

 

Aru Shah and the End of Time- Roshani Chokshi

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Roshani Chokshi (2018)

Twelve-year-old Aru Shah has a tendency to stretch the truth in order to fit in at school. While her classmates are jetting off to family vacations in exotic locales, she’ll be spending her autumn break at home, in the Museum of Ancient Indian Art and Culture, waiting for her mom to return from her latest archeological trip. Is it any wonder that Aru makes up stories about being royalty, traveling to Paris, and having a chauffeur?

One day, three schoolmates show up at Aru’s doorstep to catch her in a lie. They don’t believe her claim that the museum’s Lamp of Bharata is cursed, and they dare Aru to prove it. Just a quick light, Aru thinks. Then she can get herself out of this mess and never ever fib again.

But lighting the lamp has dire consequences. She unwittingly frees the Sleeper, an ancient demon whose duty it is to awaken the God of Destruction. Her classmates and beloved mother are frozen in time, and it’s up to Aru to save them.

The only way to stop the demon is to find the reincarnations of the five legendary Pandava brothers, protagonists of the Hindu epic poem, the Mahabharata, and journey through the Kingdom of Death. But how is one girl in Spider-Man pajamas supposed to do all that?

(via Goodreads)

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What I Liked

  • Rick Riordan Presents
    • I just want to take a moment and gush about the amazing imprint that this man has developed. For those who don’t know, Rick Riordan is working to produce middle grade stories from authors who write about their mythologies and folklore (that may not be mainstream/talked about). Currently, this book (Aru Shah) is the first to be produced under this umbrella, with two other coming out later this year, one containing Mayan myths, and the other Korean. THIS STORIES ARE SO IMPORTANT RIGHT NOW! I cannot stress enough how much I support these efforts to bring other cultures into the lives of children (and everyone) at this current time. I will most certainly be buying these books and sharing them with whomever I can because they need to be distributed and talked about.
  • Specific Passage
    • There was a section on page 71 where Aru talks about a Superhero’s cape. I really really liked the thought, and will share it with you here:
    • “Maybe that’s why superheroes wore capes. Maybe they weren’t actually capes at all, but safety blankets, like the one Aru kept at the bottom of her bed and pulled up under her chin before she went to sleep. Maybe superheroes just tied their blankies around their necks so they’d have a little bit of comfort wherever they went. Because honestly? Saving the world was scary. No harm admitting that.”
    • Thinking about superhero capes as blankies in disguise makes them seem more human, which, we could all use as a reminder once in a while. It is normal to be scared. With all these images (and movies etc.) telling us what to look and act like, thinking that superheroes have that security at all times makes them more relatable.
  • The Palace of Illusions
    • So cute! I would LOVE to live in a palace like that. I would also feel stupid guilty whenever I left (even if it was just to go grocery shopping or something)
  • The Ending
    • I liked that things were not completely resolved by the end of the story. It left you wanting more, but still feeling satisfied enough that you aren’t suffering too much while you await the sequel.
  • First Impression
    • I like that I was wrong about my First Impression. That despite feeling a reading slump coming on, I was able to push through and really enjoy this book for what it was meant to be enjoyed as. I even ended up a hole star higher than my initial prediction! (you can see that prediction here)

What I Disliked

  • Inconsistant
    • This is going to seem petty, but it bothered me that the girl on the cover has super long hair, but in the book Aru says something about her chin-length hair(page 261- “Aru’s chin length hair stuck to her face”). I know it is minor, but it is inconsistent and that bothers me for some reason.
  • Immature
    • Aru is supposed to be in 7th grade, and granted, I may not remember EXACTLY what it was like to be in 7th grade, but I also feel like I have a good idea, and to me Aru seemed very immature for her age. I get that this is a middle grade book, and that it is geared for maybe a younger audience, but then why not make the character even more relatable to them and have her the same age?

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Final Thoughts

Can I just note how much I LOVE these dividers and how perfectly (I feel) they fit this book?

Alright, now that that is out of the way- I featured this book as my very first First Impressions Friday. There, I said I was on the verge of a reading slump and wasn’t sure this was the right time for me to be reading it. However, I powered through and ended up really enjoying this in the end. Sure! It has it’s flaws, but most of them are petty or personal and shouldn’t deter anyone else from reading this. I know personally, I would really like to own this in the future, so that I can share this wonderful, culturally rich introduction to Hindu mythology with my kids one day. Books like Aru Shah and the rest of the future books to come out under this imprint are so very important right now. I cannot stress enough how much we need new stories from different people. We need to learn and understand each other better. The world could use a whole lot more sympathy and a whole lot less hatred.

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Is this book on your TBR? Have you read it yet? Don’t you just LOVE the cover? Let’s chat in the comments :]

 

on deck book On Deck:

Tyler Johnson was Here by Jay Coles

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell 

 YA-ICON

(I am having trouble choosing, so stay tuned)

Epic Winter Book Haul

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Hey ya’ll! It has come to my attention that while I do enjoy reading/watching a good book haul, I personally have not done one (on here) in quite some time. Does that mean I have not been hauling books? HELL NO! Unfortunately (or fortunately depending how you look at it) I have been getting books like crazy these last few months! (probably to mask my sadness that my boyfriend has left again for another job which will take approximately 3-6 months to complete). SO! I have for you today, a book haul of epic proportions! This is everything (that I can remember) that I have gotten since Christmas/my birthday (back in December). I will provide the links to all my BOTM books but probably won’t talk too much about them since, well, they already have highlights within my blog!

With that, lets dive in!

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BOTM Choices

January

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February– Book Feature for An American Marriage

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March

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April

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Barnes and Noble Haul

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Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi (Barnes and Noble Exclusive edition)

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (Barnes and Noble Exclusive Collector’s edition)

Amazon Orders

Physical

Watching Glass Shatter & Father Figure by James J. Cudney

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Kindle

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First, I would like to note that I hate reading on my Kindle (*GASP*) so I don’t do it often, nor do I request ARCs anymore because the majority of them are digital and it is difficult for me to read. That being said, everything listed above were either free through Goodreads or various offers, or were really cheap (like $1-$2). My thoughts are that if for some reason, I am without a book, I have an arsenal at the ready, either via my Kindle or  phone. This came in handy on my train trip home from NYC the other night.

The Star Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi, They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera, Three Wishes by Liane Moriarty, The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot, Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff, The Unofficial Harry Potter Insults Handbook, Confessions of a Queen B by Crista Mchugh, The Beale Treasure by RJ Hendricks II, Aloha Texas by Chris Keniston and Like Peaches and Pickles by Muriel Ellis Pritchett.

Target

Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco*

I was buying gifts for other people and my boyfriend was trying to be the responsible one by not letting me buy anything for myself. Instead I was pointing out all the books I wanted to read and he picked this one up and said it sounded really interesting, and that he would understand if I just could not help myself to getting this one.

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I also won a giveaway! LFBooks hosted a giveaway in which I won a Amazon gift card. I spent the gift card (and a few extra dollars) on the following:

 

 

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone- 20th Anniversary Ravenclaw edition

Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi

Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco

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There was also a huge book sale at my local library this week, that I obviously just HAD to stop in at. I mean it WAS National Library Appreciation Week, and what better way to support my local library than to give the Friends of the Library some of my money towards their used books? (other than the fact that I spent every day that week at the library because, you know, I work there…) Although I had no intentions of it being so large, I ended up leaving with a hefty stack of books.

I am SO sorry for the poor photography, but it is what it is I suppose. I realized that I am at the age now where I am constantly thinking about the future, and that is reflected in some of these picks. Some were absolute favorites (one I did not previously own, and one that will be replacing a severely damaged copy), there was a book on local history, a classic and a couple I bought on a complete whim. I say that they reflect my thoughts on the future simply because I like to try to pick things I think my future children will enjoy. My boyfriend recently noted how diverse my book collection is, and that is completely on purpose.

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

The Manor: Three Centuries on a Slave Plantation on Long Island bu Mac Griswold

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

The Complete Tales and Poems of Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne

Egyptology: The Search for the Tomb of Osiris by Emily Sands and Dugard Steer

Dragonology: The Complete Book of Dragons by Dr. Ernest Drake

I Am American (and So Can You!) & America Again: Re-becoming the Greatest We Never Weren’t by Stephen Colbert

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Holy shit, 37 books! (sorry for the language) I guess when you consider this is covering everything from January until now it’s not so bad?!?!? Guys, I think I have a SERIOUS problem…

Have you read any of these? Are any of them STAPLES and OF COURSE SAMANTHA, YOU JUST HAD TO HAVE THEM, EVERYONE DOES (other than the obvious The Hate U Give)?

Let’s  chat in the comments!

Book of the Month- April 2018

Lately I have found myself super into different mythologies and folklore thanks to the unexpected tone of Wonder Woman: Warbringer, so (one of) my choice for this month’s BOTM was not all that surprising. The other choice is also, not that surprising considering my bookish preferences at the moment, so I guess you could say that this month was no surprise what-so-ever! BOTM also asked me to take a survey about their services (or future services) which I thought was interesting. I am hoping that some of the things they asked about are very viable options for the future; that would make me a very happy subscriber.

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Circe by Mademine Miller

In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child–not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power–the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves.

Threatened, Zeus banishes her to a deserted island, where she hones her occult craft, tames wild beasts and crosses paths with many of the most famous figures in all of mythology, including the Minotaur, Daedalus and his doomed son Icarus, the murderous Medea, and, of course, wily Odysseus.

But there is danger, too, for a woman who stands alone, and Circe unwittingly draws the wrath of both men and gods, ultimately finding herself pitted against one of the most terrifying and vengeful of the Olympians. To protect what she loves most, Circe must summon all her strength and choose, once and for all, whether she belongs with the gods she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love.

With unforgettably vivid characters, mesmerizing language and page-turning suspense, Circe is a triumph of storytelling, an intoxicating epic of family rivalry, palace intrigue, love and loss, as well as a celebration of indomitable female strength in a man’s world.

(via Goodreads)

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I have been on quite a mythological/fantastical kick lately, especially after finishing Wonder Woman: Warbringer. It was a pleasant surprise to see this as an option for this month’s pick. Granted, I have NOT read her other book, which is also highly praised from what I can tell, but this seems interesting in the very least, and I have heard some REALLY great reviews about it from fellow bloggers already. A side note though, when google searching an image of the cover, I saw a picture of someone with a GORGEOUS holographic (?) cover, and I am here for it. I kinda wish that was the cover we were getting with BOTM, but I am guessing the holographic one is a special edition…

 

For those who are curious, here yah go: IMG_0123Related image

 

Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell

THEN
She was fifteen, her mother’s 
golden girl. She had her whole life ahead of her. 
And then, in the blink of an eye, Ellie was gone. 

NOW 
It’s been ten years since Ellie 
disappeared, but Laurel has never given up 
hope of finding her daughter.
And then one day a charming and charismatic stranger called Floyd walks into a café and sweeps Laurel off her feet. 
Before too long she’s staying the night at this house and being introduced to his nine year old daughter. 
Poppy is precocious and pretty – and meeting her completely takes Laurel’s breath away. 

Because Poppy is the spitting image of Ellie when she was that age.
And now all those unanswered questions that have haunted Laurel come flooding back. 

What happened to Ellie? Where did she go? 
Who still has secrets to hide?

(via Goodreads)

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Ah, will I ever tire of thrillers? Not right now, that’s for sure! What was interesting about this book was that when I was adding it to my TBR on Goodreads, I noticed that it has several different covers (shocking I know, me, pick up on covers?). I like this one the most, and am glad that this was what was sent through BOTM. As for the book itself, it sounds like your average family fueled thriller/suspense that are oh so popular at the moment. I look forward to picking this up as a filler for when I am feeling a slump coming on.

And for those of you who are curious,  here is another cover: Related image

 

 

 

 

 

Sheesh! Sorry for the delay everyone! I was having some serious photo-taking block (if that’s a thing) and didn’t like any of the pictures I took of these books-which truthfully is unfair given how pretty these covers are. I am just not a photographer guys, sorry. That being said, are any of these titles on your TBR? Have you read them already? Let’s chat in the comments!

First Impression Friday – Aru Shah and the End of Time

Hey ya’ll! I am coming at ya with a brand new “weekly” meme thanks to my friend Joe over @ Storeys of Stories! I really liked this idea because it is less commitment on my part (I don’t have to do it EVERY week, only when I start a new book).

Straight from the horse’s mouth (if you will):

First Impression Friday will be a meme where you talk about a book that you JUST STARTED! Maybe you’re only a chapter or two in, maybe a little farther.  Based on this sampling of your current read, give a few impressions and predict what you’ll think by the end.  Did you think you’d love it and ended up hating it? Or did you think you’d hate it and wound up loving it? Or were you exactly right? I think what will really make this meme a lot of fun, is linking back to it from your review to say, “Look at how wrong I was!” OR “See? I knew it all along!”

 

This week (or rather last week since I missed last Friday) I started:

Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi

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Goodreads

I picked this up because it is the first book being published under the “Rick Riordan Presents” umbrella, which is an imprint that will be publishing books written by authors who write about their heritage’s mythologies and folklore. This book is based off of Hindu mythology, and the next two books due out under this umbrella are about Mayan and Korean myths.

I feel like I am on the cusp of a major reading slump, so I have had a hard time picking this book up since I got it. I am only on chapter four, and while I was really excited to read it, I am worried that I won’t enjoy it because I am so close to a slump. As of right now, I think I may have to DNF it, but I am going to give it another week or two before I make that decision. My first impression (though somewhat clouded at the moment) would be a 3/5 stars.

If you would like to participate in this meme, please make sure to link back to Joe, since he is the creator :]