January Book Review

January Book Review

January was wild y’all. But, I spent half the month on trains, planes, and buses, so I got a lot of reading in!

1). Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee – To Kill a Mockingbird is one of my favorite books, so you can understand why I waited to read the sequel. All in all, I didn’t get the point of this book. The voice was interesting, but the plot was aimless and didn’t add anything to the first book.

2). Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris – This is the first Sedaris work I have ever read, and it was underwhelming. The connections in the essays were insightful, but the tone was not always engaging.

3). A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab – Okay, I didn’t love A Darker Shade of Magic, but I loved A Gathering of Shadows. It’s one of the best “middle books” I have ever read; it was gripping and unique, but still successfully set up the final installment in the series.

4). Going Bovine by Libba Bray – I despise books about teenagers dying, but this was fantastic. Complete with less than thrilling sex and the world being saved by pop music, I could not ask for a better teenage odyssey.

5). Atlantia by Allie Condie – I honestly don’t know what this was. It was like three books combined into one, with terrible pacing and confusing characters.

XX. Shelby Jo



November Book Review

November Book Review

November is over! The world officially has my sanction to begin listening to Christmas carols, congrats.

This past month turned out to be a fairly productive reading month, despite the crushing weight of finals and wintertime despair. Yay!

1). Seraphina by Rachel Hartman – I snagged a used copy of this book and, though I’ve heard of it, had very few expectations; all I knew was DRAGONS and that was plenty. In the end, I really enjoyed it, even thought the voice wasn’t my typical fare. The characters were well developed and the mythos – especially the political elements – was engaging.

2). Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith – I’m at such a loss with this book, because the voice and the narrative were literally spellbinding. The way motifs wove in and out, through the main character’s very intentional narration, was fascinating. But everything in between was so sexualized that I couldn’t enjoy it.

3). A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab – Look at me, finally getting caught up on popular books! The world building here was so well developed and interesting that it completely out weighed the cliche characters. The pacing was slow for most of the book, but seemed deliberately so. The book’s ending is so conclusive, that I’m somewhat hesitant to read the sequel, but I don’t know if it’s enough to stop me.

4). Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland – I assumed this book would be ridden with cliches and – though it was, somewhat – it grew on me quickly. It was a lovely expression of the power of language.

5). Uprooted by Naomi Novik – This was possibly my favorite book I’ve read this year! The magic was interesting, the plot was well paced, the characters were engaging and surprisingly sexy, and just – ugh. I loved it. Obviously.

XX. Shelby Jo

Summer Book Review

Happens at la-ast!

Surprise, surprise, I’m back. Here are some catch-up, mini reviews of all of the books I read over the summer.

#1). Pardon Me by James Roberts – This was a self-published book I read in exchange for an honest review. You can find the book on Amazon, and check out my review here.

#2). The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan – Finally, a Riordan book with a new plot arc; I thought this book was delightfully entertaining and showed far more potential than any of Riordan’s other recent work.

#3). An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir – This book was engaging and fast-paced, and the world-building was so, so interesting, but I low-key hate both of the main characters. *Sorry*

#4). The Sin Eater’s Daughter by Melinda Salisbury – I was so confused by this book. I don’t even know what it was about. Love triangles and unloving parents and undeserved fate – what else is new?

#5). The Many Lives of Ruby Iyer – Laxmi Hariharan – This was a self-published book I read in exchange for an honest review. You can find the book on Amazon, and check out my review here.

#6). Words in the Dust by Trent Reedy – Reedy is such a good writer. This book flowed gorgeously, and wove in multiple themes, but ended with the plot feeling somewhat incomplete.

#7). Sketches of the Wigwam by Mack Moyer – This was a self-published book I read in exchange for an honest review. You can find the book on Amazon, and check out my review here.

#8). The Young World by Chris Weitz – I found this book funny more than anything else; it tried so hard to be aware and progressive that it became practically ridiculous.

I’m glad to get that all off my chest! Of course, I am behind on my goal, but I will make up as much as I can over the next two months and be happy with whatever I manage to accomplish.

XX. Shelby Jo

Audiobook Sync

With this post, I wanted to spread the word about Audiobook Sync! This is a great organization designed to provide free audiobooks throughout the summer, catering to youth and adults alike. They pair a contemporary YA title alongside a classic title following similar themes or ideas and make them available to download only for a week, but to keep forever. Each week they provide a new pair for download, completely free. Check out the schedule here – the 2014 selection looks fantastic!

The dowloads start today and continue through August 20th. The files are available in MP3 format only, and require a download of Overdrive Media Console first, which is available on practically all desktop or mobile platforms.

This is a fantastic resource that its guarunteed to spice up any summer. I found it late last year, and I’m definitely downloading every title this year. Trust me, if you haven’t discovered your love for audiobooks yet, now is the time!