Reading Round-Up: May 2014

This month felt like it was very slow in the reading department. I am not sure why I didn’t read as much as I did last month, but I did get some reading done, which is always a good thing!

A Great and Terrible BeautyCharlie and the Chocolate FactoryThe Girl From the WellJust One YearA Man Came OutWithering TightsGhost BrideDelia's ShadowThe First Rule of SwimmingMary PoppinsLook Behind YouLegendAngus ThongsThe Last Envelope

Last month’s total was 18 books. This month, it is 14. Not too far off. I am still on track for reading over 100 books this year, and that is what really matters to me.

My favorite book this month was easily Legend by Marie Lu. It is a dystopian unlike anything I have read recently, and I read the whole thing in a day.

This month was also really good for getting some ARC’s from NetGalley read. The following are books I received on NetGalley:
Look Behind You by Sibel Hodge
Delia’s Shadow by Jamie Lee Moyer
A Man Came Out of a Door In The Mountain by Adrianne Harun (review)
The Girl From the Well by Rin Chupeco (review)

So, what did you read this month? What was your favorite May read? Have you read any of the books I did? If so, what did you think of them? Feel free to comment!

Stay bookish!

Posted by The Bluestocking Bookworm in Books, Books I've Read, Reading, Reviews, 2 comments

Review: (Re)Visions: Alice

Many thanks to Candlelight & Gleam for sending me this review copy via Netgalley.

Read: April 19 to April 23, 2014

Confession time! This is the first short story anthology I have ever read. Shocking, right? But I am glad that I broke into the anthology world, because reading (Re)Visions: Alice was quite enjoyable. I am not entirely sure how to review an anthology, so I am going to wing it!

We start with the original Alice in Wonderland, as written by Lewis Carroll. I loved that this was included, because if you aren’t familiar with the original work, or you have forgotten what you read years ago, it is a nice touch. You get to familiarize yourself with what they are expanding on.

I think the way the stories are arranged is interesting, because I found I liked each story more as I went.

The first story, What Aelister Found Here was promising, as it featured a male character in the place of Alice. It was the only story in the anthology to take our plucky heroine and make her a hero. I know, in today’s male-dominated society it might be odd to hear me say I was eager to read about a gender-flipped Alice. But I really was intrigued to see how the character would transfer to a male. However, I found the tarot theme and very loosely woven reality to be quite hard to follow. I enjoyed the story once everything came together in the end, but getting there was a bit of a chore for me.

The second story, House of Cards was interesting in that it didn’t follow Alice’s story directly, rather something that happened before. Honestly, I don’t remember much about this story, other than I liked reading about people before Alice, and that I liked it better than the first. It was different from the original Alice in Wonderland, but not quite so different as the first entry in this anthology.

Knave was the third story in the (Re)Visions: Alice anthology, and it was hands-down my favorite. All of the best known and loved characters of Alice in Wonderland have been dropped into an underground crime setting. And it suits them. I devoured this portion, and I really wanted more.

The World In A Thimble was probably my second-favorite. It read a lot like Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman, but with an Alice twist. Our main character was male, but he didn’t take on Alice’s role.

A lot of the stories seemed to focus on the Jack or Knave of hearts, which I found interesting, but I couldn’t put my finger on why.

Overall, my first foray into the world of anthologies was enjoyable, and I can foresee myself stopping by from time to time.

Posted by The Bluestocking Bookworm in Books, Books I've Read, Reading, Reviews, 0 comments

Review: The Girl From the Well by Rin Chupeco

Many thanks to Sourcebooks Fire for sending me this review copy via NetGalley!

OK, so the movie The Ring scared the bejeebers out of me. Completely. And horror is always more horrifying (I find, anyways) in book form, because your imagination gets to run wild. So I decided to request this book.

I was a little disappointed. OK, more than a little. I was expecting to have to put this book in the freezer to escape the nightmares, but because it is a young adult book, the actual horror is pretty light. Because I was expecting something truly terrifying, the book lost a star there. I don’t deny there were some creepy bits, but for the most part I was just, not invested and not scared.

The Girl From the Well gets bonus points for being one of the only young adult book I have read in a very long time that didn’t feature a romance. At all. Instead, the two main characters are cousins. It had the potential to be really great, but the relationship was a little strained. I wanted the characters to be closer, but not “in love” close.

Learning about the basis for stories like The Ring was really neat, but I felt like Okiku really lacked depth as a character. OK, we know her backstory and we know what she is up to now, but we don’t really know how she feels most of the time. I want to know more. This was true for the other characters as well. We see them on the surface only. They are kiddie pools, only present enough to move the story along, and nothing more.

Bottom Line: The book is called The Girl From the Well but the story was nowhere near deep enough for my liking.

Posted by The Bluestocking Bookworm in Books, Books I've Read, Reading, 0 comments

A Man Came Out of a Door in the Mountain by Adiranne Huran

Many thanks to Penguin Books for giving me this review copy via NetGalley!

I really am not sure what I expected from this book going in, but I was really not engaged by this book. I guess I was hoping for some good Canadiana infused with a bit of magical realism. However, in the end I found A Man Came Out of a Door in the Mountain to be confusing and unsatisfying.

The prose is really lovely. That is all that kept me going through the book, the fact that the prose reads like poetry. It is technically accurate and has a flow that I haven’t seen many other places. Where this book lacked, though, was in characters and plot.

I feel like there were far too many characters in A Man Came Out of a Door in the Mountain. At under 300 pages, I would expect the story to focus on three or four main characters. However, there are at least three or four times that who each get a moment in the spotlight to tell their own stories. It made for a very chaotic story, and I didn’t really feel connected to any of the characters, though I really wanted to be.

As I mentioned already, the plot of A Man Came Out of a Door in the Mountain is quite chaotic and confusing. At the end of the book I put it down and said out loud “I am not entirely sure what I just read”. While the synopsis on NetGalley led me to believe I would be reading about the Highway of Angels, that highway is never mentioned by name or number. The city of the setting is never mentioned, except abstractly. I spent more time trying to work out where the book was actually set than I did enjoying the story.

A lot of the plot revolves around the idea that the devil has come to town. Literally. But it isn’t just one devil (another instance where there are far too many characters). This had the potential to be a really great way to tell the story, but in the end it was just way too convoluted and twisted. There were a few glimmers where we actually got to see the weaving of the “devil’s” ways, and those were some of my favorite parts of the book.

The majority of characters in A Man Came Out of a Door in the Mountain are either Aboriginal or of mixed race. This was one of the big draws for me to request the book in the first place, as the whole #WeNeedDiverseBooks thing has got me really trying to find diversity in books. However, both of the “devils” in the story are white. There is diversity in books, and then there is racism. And this is racism. The bad guys were the only white people featured in any capacity in the book. Others are mentioned in passing, usually exhibiting traits of racism themselves, which is something I find really interesting as well. I will not argue that there is a severe problem of racism against First Nations peoples in Canada. But to then turn around and be racist against white people is not the answer. As my mom always said, two wrongs don’t make a right. And she is a pretty smart lady, my mom.

Bottom Line: So much potential, but a bloated cast and a chaotic plot made this a less than enjoyable read for me.

Posted by The Bluestocking Bookworm in Books, Books I've Read, Reading, Reviews, 0 comments

Bout of Books #10

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 12th and runs through Sunday, May 18th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 10 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team

I am very much going to do this! Yay for reading!

I will likely be posting daily updates here, but shorter blurbs on my Facebook and Tumblr, so please follow me there for more updates!

Stay bookish!

Posted by The Bluestocking Bookworm in Books, Reading, 0 comments

Growing Pains

So, I am kind of still trying to figure out everything with going self-hosted. Please don’t panic if the website changes layout, etc, for the next little bit. I really want to make it look the best it can. If you are having any trouble with the site, especially with commenting, please feel free to e-mail me: info [at] bluestockingbookworm [dot] com

Stay bookish!

Posted by The Bluestocking Bookworm in Reading, 0 comments

Top Ten Tuesday: Cover Lust

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by the fine folks over at The Broke and the Bookish. They totally rock, so check them out!

This week’s topic? Cover Lust! (It is actually “Top Ten Covers I Would Frame As Art” but I decided to shorten it.) I really like the idea of this topic, because not only does it let me see what other people like in book covers, it lets me see what other people like in art!

For a fun twist, these are books I haven’t read, so I am liking them SOLELY for their cover.

AnnabelShineFifty Shades DarkerHaloLife AfterAwakenAngelfallFirst Rule of SwimmingFire flower

OK, so I only had 9, and not 10. But I really enjoy all of these for different reasons. There are a lot of beautiful book covers out there, but if I am looking at something as frame-able art, I prefer no faces (unless they are of someone I know). That eliminated a lot of covers.

So, what book covers are frame-worthy in your opinion? Link me to your top ten, or leave a comment below.

Stay bookish!

Posted by The Bluestocking Bookworm in Books, Reading, 6 comments

Reading Round-Up: April

Hello bookworms! I am going to start doing a new post at the beginning of each month to share what I read in the previous month. I hope you enjoy!

This month was pretty busy, book wise. I read 18 books, which is the most I have read in a single month so far this year. Overall though, I didn’t love what I read. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t love it.

Ash Wonder Sea of Shadows Face on the Milk Carton Unlikely Hero of 13B Reconstructing Amelia Book Thief Truth About Alice Princess of the Midnight Ball If I Stay Amity Wizard of Oz Shatter Me 9781936460069_cov Partials Nancy Drew1 Lemon Cake Want To Be Wizard

This month, I think my favourite book was Wonder by R.J. Palacio. It was wonderful and it made me cry.

What did you read this month? Have you read any of the books that I did? Did you like them? Why or why not?

I also just wanted to let you guys know that I might be posting reviews out of order for a while. I need to get reviews written, but I am also kind of behind. So I am trying to balance writing new reviews for ARCs with old ones.

Stay bookish!

Posted by The Bluestocking Bookworm in Books, Books I've Read, Reading, 0 comments

Review: The Wishing Thread by Lisa Van Allen

The Wishing Thread

The Wishing Thread by Lisa Van Allen
Read: September 17, 2013
Advance reading copy.

Many thanks to Net-Galley and Random House Publishing (Ballantine) for providing me with this advance reading copy!

Goodreads Book Blurb: The Van Ripper women have been the talk of Tarrytown, New York, for centuries. Some say they’re angels; some say they’re crooks. In their tumbledown “Stitchery,” not far from the stomping grounds of the legendary Headless Horseman, the Van Ripper sisters—Aubrey, Bitty, and Meggie—are said to knit people’s most ardent wishes into beautiful scarves and mittens, granting them health, success, or even a blossoming romance. But for the magic to work, sacrifices must be made—and no one knows that better than the Van Rippers.
When the Stitchery matriarch, Mariah, dies, she leaves the yarn shop to her three nieces. Aubrey, shy and reliable, has dedicated her life to weaving spells for the community, though her sisters have long stayed away. Bitty, pragmatic and persistent, has always been skeptical of magic and wants her children to have a normal, nonmagical life. Meggie, restless and free-spirited, follows her own set of rules. Now, after Mariah’s death forces a reunion, the sisters must reassess the state of their lives even as they decide the fate of the Stitchery. But their relationships with one another—and their beliefs in magic—are put to the test. Will the threads hold?

My Opinion: I really enjoyed this book, as evident by the fact that I read it in its 400 page entirety in one day. It reminded me a lot of Sarah Addison Allen, and I actually thought the two authors might be related.

This book is a delightful romp through Tarrytown, New York steeped in magical realism and knitting. We follow three sisters and are immersed in their relationships with each other and those around them. I really loved how multi-faceted the sisters were, and their relationships reminded me a bit of the sisters in Practical Magic. (The movie. I haven’t read the book yet)

One thing about the characters is that because we spent so much time learning about the different characters, I didn’t feel particularly drawn to any one of the sisters. Another thing plot-wise was that I didn’t find myself caring much about the town council plot line. I wanted to know more about The Stitchery and the sisters.

The prose was well written, but light. I think this really helped the story, since it is such a light and warm story. Pretentious or purple prose would have ruined it beyond repair.

Bottom Line: I feel bad because I read this book long enough ago that I don’t remember everything I loved about it. But I remember that I liked it a lot.

Posted by The Bluestocking Bookworm in Books, Books I've Read, Reading, Reviews, 0 comments

Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Things I Need In My Life

toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by the fine folks over at The Broke and the Bookish. They totally rock, so check them out!

This week’s topic? Top ten bookish things I need to own right the heck now! (Once again, I have taken some liberties with the topic to suit my mood, which is a little goofy…)

bookthumbprint
This is a custom book thumbprint made from your own thumbprint and titles of books you love. HOW FREAKING COOL IS THAT?
You can purchase it from Etsy >>HERE<

Lumio_Two_UP_ON
This is a book shaped light. It is rechargeable, portable, uses LED lights and FSC certified wood.
Made by Lumio, and can be purchased >>HERE<<

tote
Every book lover needs a bag to haul their books. And what better bag than one that proclaims your love for reading?
This particular tote can be found >>HERE<<

homelibrary
OK, this isn’t something I can just go out and buy like a bag or a bookmark. But it is still something I covet. I need a home library. Right now, I don’t have enough space to have one in my apartment, but when my husband and I buy a house, it is high on my list of priorities. Included with said library will be a reading nook, and hopefully a hidden bookcase door.
See more amazing home library pictures here, here, here, and here.

bookplates
OK, let’s be honest here. As one book lover to another. You are always lending your books out, right? Me too. This is why I would love some personalized bookplates to put in my favourites so I know I will get them back!
These particular ones are cute and modern, and are sold from Etsy >>HERE<<

necklace
All you have to do is search for “book necklace” on Etsy and you get a plethora of adorable options. However this one speaks to me, because I am always reading and drinking tea.
You can purchase it >>HERE<<

Print
For bookworms and Harry Potter fans alike, you can’t go wrong with this t-shirt. I needs it, precious!
You can buy it >>HERE<<

bookclutch
I don’t really know anyone who doesn’t covet a book clutch. You can make them yourself if you are crafty, or you can buy them from a plethora of places.
This one is made from The Wizard of Oz and can be purchased >>HERE<<

book-journal
A book journal is like, the perfect marriage of all the things I need and adore. I love Moleskine books, and this happens to be made by them. Drooling already. Then there is the fact that I can be very scatterbrained and having something to write my points down immediately following a reading so I can make a more in-depth review later? DEAL!
Moleskine sells this amazing invention >>HERE<<

oil
OK, I can HEAR you trying to figure out what this last picture is supposed to be. As you may or may not know, I collect perfume oils in addition to books. There are quite a few that even smell bookish! I have tried some of them, but I don’t have large bottles of them. So here are links to some of the ones I know of… (this is just a small sampling, if you want to know more options, please leave a comment)
BPAL – Dee
BPAL – The Book
BPAL – Miskatonic University
Delightful Rot – Harry Potter set
Delightful Rot – Game of Thrones set
Conjure Oils – October Daye collection
Violette Market – Library of Alexandria

So, dear followers… what kind of bookish things do you need in your life? Are there things on my list that you have wanted? Things you never thought of? Link me up to your TTT!

Posted by The Bluestocking Bookworm in Books, Reading, 16 comments
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