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Born with Teeth

Rip planted this red flag squarely in my field of vision, and still I could not see it.
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Born with Teeth by Kate Mulgrew

How it begins: I started out in a green house with a red door in a small town, where mysteries abounded.

This book brought me back to my long-neglected blog. I got it in the mail yesterday and I sit her sad that I’m already through it and pleased to share it with anyone who is looking for something to read.

Already a fan of Ms. Muldrew (as Red on Orange is the New Black), I had no other expectations, other than the hope for kept interest, when I ordered the book to my mailbox.

It was a beautiful story and a true pleasure to read. Pain is woven into chapters with care and love. Sadness is captured with longing sincerity.

Her story is told with respect for the other characters, with passion for her work, her loved ones and for herself and with an openness to joy that is waited for, and never too far off.

Read this book. There is such beauty in the pages.

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry

 

 

The words you can’t find, you borrow. We read to know we’re not alone. We read because we are alone. We read and we are not alone.
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The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

How it begins: On the Ferry from Hyannis to Alice Island, Amelia Loman paints her nails yellow and, while waiting for them to dry, skins her predecessor’s notes.

This book was just a simple read of pure enjoyment. It was a story for those who like stories, who find comfort in books, who get excited by a full bookshelf and a comfortable chair.

I was unsure what to expect when I started reading. Mr. Fikry is not easy to love at first. The characters are flawed, but smart. They face loss and trouble and are afforded happiness – some fleeting and some redeeming. References to other works of literary fiction, short stories and classics add depth for the real readers who find themselves lost in the Island bookstore.

Maya’s life is interesting and rich. Daniel’s (spoiler alert) end is one of the most simple and most beautiful ends I’ve ever read. A.J. begins with hardship, grows with duty and is touched with love in the end. The stories we tell those who matter to us, and the stories we keep from them were shown as meaningful and served to connect to the characters in a kinder and more empathetic way that I would in a normal, quick summer read.

If you enjoy sitting with a good book, do make sure you sit with this one.

Readers are the best…

They have access to hundreds of souls, and the collected wisdom of all them. They have seen things you’ll never understand and have experienced deaths of people you’ll never know.

I came across this article and there are so many important and interesting elements to it. Don’t only consider falling in love with a reader, but befriend them, seek them out. They are special and thoughtful folk.

Read this.

Ask the Passengers

It feels good to love a thing and not expect anything back.

Ask-the-PassengersAsk the Passengers  by A.S. King

How it begins: Every airplane, no matter how far it is up there, I send love to it.

This is a story about a teenager unsure about herself, unsure about her family, unsure about her friends – who finds strength in laying down on a picnic table she and her pot-smoking dad built, staring at the planes flying overhead and sending them love. Conjuring up goodness and setting it free into the universe. I loved the action, and believed in the intentions of poor, scared, confused, different Astrid. I found the story so empowering, considering this closeted teenage lesbian, facing a difficult, uncontrolled public outing, and a family so self-absorbed that they could hardly offer any help or the love that certainly could have cushioned the mess that took over – but dear Astrid still found love to send away. It is later revealed that her actions were guided by her feeling that her love was not needed in her life directly, and what a shame to waste it, so she sent it away. The sentiment is beautiful. The action is important. If nothing more is taken from this story than the goodness that comes from having the strength to wish others well, the ability to channel goodness and silently offer it to the universe and the patience to wait and see who you really are – that’s enough. A few appearances from Socrates spoke to my own heart…there is great growth that comes from questions and conversations and considering how your beliefs find you placed in the world.

Mortal Instruments [Series]

That which was new was almost always temporary. And that which was temporary broke your heart.

instrumentsCity of Bones, City of Ashes, City of Glass, City of Fallen Angels, City of Lost Souls, City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare

I read the first five books in this series about a year ago. It took me about five days to finish the final book. That’s because it’s a busy time and it’s a long book, not because I didn’t like it.

This book tied up so many story lines from the previous instalments and incorporated the characters from the Infernal Devices series by Clare. I loved the subtle tie-ins, probably because I enjoyed the other series so much (maybe even better than this one). My biggest problem reading this book was having my thoughts drift back to the movie that came out last summer about the first movie. I found it to be a complete disappointment. It’s not that I dislike any of the actors in it per say, but I didn’t think that any one of them, except maybe Simon, were cast well, and while reading, I kept thinking about these actors in these situations and it became muddled and difficult. I wish I had never watched the movie because the pictures in my head were so much different.

City of Heavenly Fire was a lovely closer to the series. Love and loss, family and friendship — the themes are enjoyably woven together with the hardships and the sacrifices the story takes. The characters come to an end with a sense of hope and thoughts of keeping on.

Perhaps when I get through my TBR pile, I’ll revisit the world of Shadowhunters and Downworlders. For now, I’m ready to leave them behind. Perhaps I’ll start again with the next series coming from Clare, with some of the characters introduced in the final book of this one. I’m eagerly awaiting the dramatic death of the Seelie Queen. I hope it’s coming. She is wicked and terrible and needs to die….don’t you agree?

Love Letters to the Dead

I think a lot of people want to be someone, but we are scared that if we try, we won’t be as good as everyone imagines we could be.

18140047Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira

How it begins: Dear Kurt Cobain,
Mrs. Buster gave us our first assignment in English today, to write a letter to a dead person.

Quick read. I found a number of passages came with particular impact, on the high side for typical YA reads. The story was cute, but kind of typical and not that difficult to predict. There were a lot of similarities to both The Perks of Being a Wallflower and The Sky is Everywhere. Both books I loved, so that’s ok, but I found myself spending too much time comparing the stories, the characters, the styles. I love letters and I think telling a story with them is interesting and carries great potential. I write them in my head all the time. The dead people who Laurel write to represent great things in history which adds depth and interest to the storyline.

Overall, a cute read, but if you’ve already read the the other two books I mentioned you may find yourself thinking you’ve read parts of it before.

Under the Never Sky [series]

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UNDER THE NEVER SKY series by Veronica Rossi

3 novels, 2 novellas

Roar and Liv (novella)
How it begins: I make my move when the tribe is asleep.

Under the Never Sky
How it begins:
 They called the world beyond the walls of the Pod “the Heath Shop.”

Through the Ever Night
How it begins: Aria was here.

Brooke (novella)
How it begins: The breeze that wafts by me is deceptive.

Into the Still Blue
How it begins: 
Aria lurched upright, the echo of gunshots ringing in her ears.

A world has been devastated by electrical storms and divided into communities, those who have heightened senses and live outside and those who live in pods and experience nothing first hand, rather through an interactive glass that allows them to learn about the world in basic isolation, in the drab pods they call home, and at the same time in the vivid environments they have created in the cyber-real.

I finished this series in six days. A relationship a little more heated than the typical YA pairing, Perry and Aria are fighting for their own survival, and the survival of their friends while experiencing loss at the highest levels.

If you enjoyed Hunger Games or Divergent, you’ll like this one. Just like the ‘Birthmarked’ series, this one is a little less known but just as good, as far as I’m concerned.

Where She Went

I’ve come to realize there’s a world of difference between knowing something happened, even knowing why it happened, and believing it.

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Where She Went by Gayle Forman (sequel to If I Stay)

How it begins: Every morning I wake up and I tell myself this: It’s just one day, one twenty-four-hour period to get yourself through.

In less than 24 hours I discovered a book I recently read had a sequel, I downloaded that sequel and I read that sequel. Was it a piece of YA genius? Nope. Was it a lovely conclusion to the story that began in the first book? Absolutely. The first book ended with a beginning and this one brought the strings all back together. I’m glad this one came to my attention. It was nice to revisit the characters, learn more of their before and be brought into their endings. If you liked the first one, you’ll like this one. It’s told from a male perspective this time and that’s new and interesting, and the time between books has not been great, which was interesting to go through as well. It’s a quick, easy read, and I respect the story for exactly what it was.

If I Stay

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If I Stay by Gayle Forman

How it begins: Everyone thinks it was because of the snow. And in a way, I suppose that’s true.

Told by a girl in a coma. She is aware that her family is gone and she is all that’s left. There are people who love her that want her to wake up but she spends the story telling the stories of remembrance and young love, that could have, should have and maybe would have been.

It is built on the possibility that everything can change in a second, with a snowfall or a day off or a music selection. It’s all fleeting and the decisions we make – before and after – have consequences and meaningful impacts that reach far and wrench heartstrings.

This was a quick read, and when I was looking for the image of the cover to stick in this post, I discovered that there is a sequel. (I guess you can figure that she stayed…that doesn’t lessen the story at all, I promise). I’ve already downloaded it and I hope it doesn’t keep me up too late tonight!

We Were Liars

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 We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

How it begins: Welcome to the beautiful Sinclair family. No one is a criminal. No one is an addict. No one is a failure.

The best part about the book was the writing. The prose was delightful. I read this one on a long car ride as well, and it didn’t take me long. The worst part about this book was that I figured it out before it ended. That kind of bugged me a little bit, and it made me deflate, but the writing was beautiful. I found that the subject matter took back seat to the words and I loved that.

The subject matter was common, but the descriptions were better than I’ve read before. The characters were not all redeemed and I was happy for that. The losses are incredible and there are times that you want to reach through the pages and shake the people who are left.

The story shines a light on priorities and friendship and the imperfect balance of it all.