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Filling the Shelf

Posted by on August 7, 2017 3:53 am in Book talk | 7 comments

Welcome to Filling the Shelf, or as many of you know it, Mailbox Monday! If you’re interested in joining the fun or seeing what other bloggers added to their shelves, click away! (but beware, visiting other mailboxes will probably add to your neverending wishlist!)

Good Monday everyone!

I promised 2 weeks ago that I would be more reasonable with books, and I was. Yay me! I’ve been extremely busy and stressed lately (selling a condo and searching for a new house will do that to you, for sure!) so while I’ve done a bit of reading, I haven’t had a lot of time for book shopping.

I was going to have only 2 books for this post, but earlier this week Audible had Wild Seed on sale, and then I found, a bit over a week early, The Stone Sky at the bookstore. You guys know I’ve been waiting for this book all year, so of course I brought it home! And now, I’m in this weird place where I want to read it but I also don’t want to because then it will be over…

The Stone Sky by N. K. Jemisin – Wild Seed by Octavia E. Butler (audio)

Red Sister by Mark Lawrence – All We Shall Know by Donal Ryan

What books did you recently add to your shelves?

 

Thoughts on : My Siter Rosa by Justine Larbalestier

Posted by on August 4, 2017 2:28 am in 3 stars reads | 2 comments

My Siter Rosa by Justine Larbalestier
Audio narration : David Linski
Genre : YA, contemporary
Stand alone

About the Book  :

What if the most terrifying person you know is your ten-year-old sister?

Seventeen-year-old Aussie Che Taylor loves his younger sister, Rosa. But he’s also certain that she’s a psychopath—clinically, threateningly, dangerously. Recently Rosa has been making trouble, hurting things. Che is the only one who knows; he’s the only one his sister trusts. Rosa is smart, talented, pretty, and very good at hiding what she is and the manipulation she’s capable of.

Their parents, whose business takes the family from place to place, brush off the warning signs as Rosa’s “acting out.” Now that they have moved again—from Bangkok to New York City—their new hometown provides far too many opportunities for Rosa to play her increasingly complex and disturbing games. Che’s always been Rosa’s rock, protecting her from the world. Now, the world might need protection from her. 

My Thoughts :

Once more, I find myself labeling a book with the dreadful “great idea, disappointing execution” tag. It’s been a trend lately in my reading life, but I’m not sure if I’m unlucky or if my tastes and expectations have, unknown to me, changed?

My Sister Rosa isn’t a bad book. I enjoyed a lot about it, in fact. It’s slow (in a good way), dramatic, unsettling, with a good suspense.

Rosa was absolutely fascinating and, most importantly, realistic. The author wrote her in subtleties, enough that we would doubt what was going on and question everything – even Che. She was complex rather than comic-book evil, which in turn made the relationships people built with her equally fascinating.

Other than Rosa, I was captivated by their parents and how differently they reacted and acted along the story. Their decisions explained so much about Rosa and Che, and this had me wondering about the choices I would make in their place. I’m always thankful for books that help me observe the world in different ways.

But Rosa wasn’t the narrator : Che, her big brother, was. And so much of the story was spent on Che’s romantic life and his boxing. I simply couldn’t connect to him; I thought he was uninteresting, and he only really shined when standing besides his sister. I found myself bored through long stretches of the audiobook, even though I absolutely enjoyed David Linski’s narration.

It’s too bad I couldn’t appreciate Che as a main character, because I found the ending to be very fitting. If My Sister Rosa intrigues you, I’d say go ahead and give it a try; despite its flaws, it did raise interesting questions and offered a unique, unnerving story. I know I’ll still think about this one for a while. It wasn’t a favorite, but it’s okay : not all books need to be!

Filling the Shelf

Posted by on July 24, 2017 2:36 am in Book talk | 10 comments

Welcome to Filling the Shelf, or as many of you know it, Mailbox Monday! If you’re interested in joining the fun or seeing what other bloggers added to their shelves, click away! (but beware, visiting other mailboxes will probably add to your neverending wishlist!)

Hello everyone and good Monday!

I hope your week was good! We had an eventful and stressful one, and as is often the case, stress made me too distracted to do much reading. I started like 7 different books but finished only one… but I actually reviewed it! Have a look if you want to know my thoughts on the audio of One of Us is Lying !

I usually try not to buy more than I read (keyword being : try), but this week is particularly dramatic. Four of them were used/on sale though, so in terms of budget it’s not too bad, but I’m planning on not buying anything for a short while. We’ll see how well that holds soon!

This week I’m mostly excited for The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, which I have heard amazing things about, and Wonder Woman Unbound, which should be interesting.

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee (audio) – The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons – Updraft by Fran Wilde

The Map of Bones by Francesca Haig (audio) – Every Anxious Wave by Mo Daviau (audio) – Wonder Woman Unbound by Tim Hanley

What books did you recently add to your shelves?

 

Thoughts on : One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus

Posted by on July 21, 2017 4:44 am in 3 stars reads | 4 comments

One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus
Audio narration : Kim Mai Guest , MacLeod Andrews , Shannon McManus , Robbie Daymond
Genre : Mystery, YA
Stand alone

About the Book  :

Pay close attention and you might solve this.

On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.

Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.

Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.

Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.

Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.

And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.

Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?

My Thoughts :

One of Us is Lying was, mostly, exactly what I wanted : it had an intriguing premise, secrets, a carefully built mystery. It had a lot of twists and surprises, and while the ending didn’t surprise me, I was mostly pleased with it. I also really enjoyed how the media played a part in the story. I’m fascinated by the media and the public’s reaction (including my own) in this type of stories, and I felt this one was realistically done.

On top of that, the narration for the audiobook was really well done. Each of the four characters had their own narrator, and while I sometimes confused the two girls, they overall did a great job of giving these four people distinct personalities.

And yet, I couldn’t give this one my full recommendation, because an aspect of it really disappointed/annoyed me. I need to say : it’s a small spoiler, I guess, but nothing that will spoil the most important parts of the story.

So, each of the four main characters has a secret they want to hide. They are revealed as the story advances, building up the mystery. It’s mostly about lies, cheating, that sort of thing, except one, for whom the secret is their sexual orientation. In other words, we are “led to believe” the character is straight until, SURPRISE! They are not! How shocking, right?

Not being straight, or keeping it for yourself, is obviously not the problem here. But the approach in this story is completely wrong. I found it to be lacking in taste and sensibility. Especially nowadays, when sexuality, gender and identity are such important topics. And nothing about the story required this character’s sexual life to be presented as a “shocking surprise”. In fact, it would have made this character much easier to relate too if their sexual orientation hadn’t been used for shock value.

I also wasn’t please with how mental health was presented in the book, but not as bothered by it.

All in all, One of Us is Lying isn’t a bad book. It’s a good mystery, but its lack of delicacy regarding certain topics makes it disappointing at best, and insulting at worst. If this doesn’t bother you though, you might enjoy the story which was otherwise well written, suspenseful and a real page-turner!