down the tbr hole #23

As my Goodreads to-read shelf creeps closer to 500 books, I've been eyeing it with a growing feeling of apprehension. It would take forever to get through so many...and that's not counting all of the new books I hear about along the way. Thankfully I discovered Lost In A Story's series (by way of Boston Book Reader) at the beginning of the year and it sounds like a great way to trim down my TBR.

The guidelines, per Lost In A Story, are simple:
  • Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf
  • Order on ascending date added
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?
I'll be going through 10 books every week, meaning it should take me almost the whole year to reach the end! If you'd like to do this yourself, be sure to visit Lost In A Story's original post and let her (and me!) know you'll be joining in the fun.

book review: strange the dreamer by laini taylor

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
Hodder & Staughton, 536 pp.
Published March 27, 2017

The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around - and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he's been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance to lose his dream forever.

What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?

The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries - including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo's dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? And if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?

In this sweeping and breathtaking new novel by National Book Award finalist Laini Taylor, author of the New York Times bestselling Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy, the shadow of the past is as real as the ghosts who haunt the citadel of murdered gods. Fall into a mythical world of dread and wonder, moths and nightmares, love and carnage.

sunday post #32

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Caffeinated Reviewer. It's a chance to recap posts from the past week and tease upcoming content, as well as share new books, reading challenge progress, and anything else you've come across in the last seven days.

Yesterday I bid an unofficial farewell to summer at an annual pool party that doubles as a fundraiser for a local charity! It's held at one of the nice old hotels north of downtown and, provided you show up early enough to stake out a good spot, it makes for some fun people watching while sipping on a cold drink in the pool. You also need to be smart enough to leave before too many guests have had one too many cold drinks in the pool, but that's another story...

I also broke out of my film-going rut and saw Mission Impossible: Fallout earlier in the week. When I was younger, I didn't really enjoy Tom Cruise's movies (with a couple of exceptions) but I've warmed to him in the last few years. Overall MI:6 was a great deal of fun, particularly watching it on an enormous screen with surround sound, and I'll never not be impressed with the practical stunts on display. This coming week I hope to make it back to the theater for The Meg and Christopher Robin...and keep avoiding the heat that just won't quit!

book review: vicious by v.e. schwab

Vicious by V.E. Schwab
Titan Books, 420 pp.
Published May 29, 2018

Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong.

Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end?

fantasy re-tellings i want to read!

Re-telling familiar fairy tales and fables has been popular for quite some time among authors, usually with an eye to update some of the older themes and gender roles for a modern audience. With such classic tales, every reader brings their own memories, experiences, and opinions to the table, making a reinvention of the original story a difficult process. One of the things I love most about these sorts of stories is how much room they allow for playing with tropes and subverting the expectations they raise, although not every author will tackle the same subjects that I most enjoy (naturally!).

This got me thinking: what are some of the ways I would re-visit these old stories, given the chance? I've put together some ideas of both popular and less well-known fairy tales that I think could do with a modern update and given them my own, personal spin.

book review: baby teeth by zoje stage

Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage
St. Martin's Press, 320 pp.
Published July 17, 2018

DISCLAIMER: I received a free physical ARC of this title from the publisher for review consideration. This did not inform or influence my opinion in any way.

Sweetness can be deceptive.

Meet Hanna.

She’s the sweet-but-silent angel in the adoring eyes of her Daddy. He’s the only person who understands her, and all Hanna wants is to live happily ever after with him. But Mommy stands in her way, and she’ll try any trick she can think of to get rid of her. Ideally for good.

Meet Suzette.

She loves her daughter, really, but after years of expulsions and strained home schooling, her precarious health and sanity are weakening day by day. As Hanna’s tricks become increasingly sophisticated, and Suzette's husband remains blind to the failing family dynamics, Suzette starts to fear that there’s something seriously wrong, and that maybe home isn’t the best place for their baby girl after all.