Thursday, October 8, 2015

Lauren Reviews A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston

A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston
Published: October 2015 by Disney Hyperion
Source: eARC
Rating: 5 Stars

Lo-Melkhiin killed three hundred girls before he came to her village, looking for a wife. When she sees the dust cloud on the horizon, she knows he has arrived. She knows he will want the loveliest girl: her sister. She vows she will not let her be next.

And so she is taken in her sister's place, and she believes death will soon follow. Lo-Melkhiin's court is a dangerous palace filled with pretty things: intricate statues with wretched eyes, exquisite threads to weave the most beautiful garments. She sees everything as if for the last time.But the first sun rises and sets, and she is not dead. Night after night, Lo-Melkhiin comes to her and listens to the stories she tells, and day after day she is awoken by the sunrise. Exploring the palace, she begins to unlock years of fear that have tormented and silenced a kingdom. Lo-Melkhiin was not always a cruel ruler. Something went wrong.

Far away, in their village, her sister is mourning. Through her pain, she calls upon the desert winds, conjuring a subtle unseen magic, and something besides death stirs the air. Back at the palace, the words she speaks to Lo-Melkhiin every night are given a strange life of their own. Little things, at first: a dress from home, a vision of her sister. With each tale she spins, her power grows. Soon she dreams of bigger, more terrible magic: power enough to save a king, if she can put an end to the rule of a monster.

At first, I got the... "I volunteer as tribute!" vibe when the girl swapped places with her sister. She was sacrificing her life so her sister could live. So... that's basically the same thing, right? This still did not deter me from the book by any means. 

The main character is one brave girl. Not only did she decide to die so her sister could live, but she decided if she was going to go die - she'd go out with a bang. She wanted to kill Lo-Melkhin. I mean, who wouldn't? Lo-Melkhin had killed over 300 girls - all of them his brides to be. But this time would be different. The girl tried something none of the other had... to peak Lo-Melkhin's interest. The first night, when almost every bride died, the girl told Lo-Melkhin a story. Soon dawn arrived and Lo-Melkhin agreed to let her live another day so he could hear the rest of the story. 

Throughout the book, the girl seemingly challenges Lo-Melkhin with her words, which of course of made him more curious. It soon become apparent that Lo-Melkhin isn't really himself and he has some sort of power. The girl starts to see this mysterious power during their long nights full of story-telling. Even Lo-Melkhin's mother can sense her son is different... changed somehow. 

All the while, the girl's sister and the people from the girl's village have been praying to the girl as if she was already dead and considered a smallgod for sacrificing herself. Now the girl starts to sense a sort of power within herself. Maybe now the girl can finally face Lo-Melkhin and prevent more deaths. 

This book was a wonderful reboot of Arabian Nights... or at least it had a few similarities. I loved the main character and the snide comments she made to Lo-Melkhin all the while knowing she could be breathing her last breath. I recommend this book to everyone... seriously. Even if you don't care for the YA or fantasy genres, I still think you'll love it. 

Cross-posted at The Tattooed Biblio

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

What I've Been Reading Lately

I just started law school.  My free time is fairly non-existent, which means that my time spent reading is even more non-existent.  I never in a million years thought that, on the rare occasions I do get to read, I'd turn to non-fiction.  Yet, here I am.

Beyond that, most of my reading has been focused on how to manage my life.  I have far less time than I used to for things.  I'm in the position of choosing very carefully how I spend my time because I have so little time for everything that's not law school.  But there are so many things I'm wanting to get into my day--exercise, leisure reading, cooking, and other activities that I enjoy.  So I've been reading and rereading a lot of books about time management and changing the way I think about and approach problems.

Two of my recent selections include...

SkinnyGirl Solutions by Bethenny Frankel  I've flipped through this one a few times since it came out.  It covers a great variety of things--health, daily life, and career.  One of the things I love about Frankel is her conversational, completely honest approach.  I feel like I'm having a drink or two with a girlfriend (sidenote, I initially typed "having a drunk"; clearly we know where my mind is!).  I also like how Bethenny talks about the struggle to achieve work-life balance.  I am definitely feeling that right now!  I love how she emphasizes health and taking care of yourself as an integral part of doing 84,000 other things.  If you aren't healthy, you can't do anything else.  This is something I definitely need to work on.

EveryGirl's Guide to Life by Maria Menounos  This one also covers the gamut.  I love how Menounos is very much a self-made woman.  I love the amount of space in the book that she uses to discuss organization--and on a budget at that!  She also talks a lot about being a one-woman business, which I kind of feel like I am right now.  She tackles style, emotional relationships, and health as well.  She has a follow-up book on weightloss.  Her approach to weightloss (but really, also everything else) is very down to earth and totally affordable.  She literally is the EveryGirl.

Here are two I'm about to pick up...

Big Magic by Liz Gilbert  I pre-ordered this one and am so excited to pick it up!  It deals with creativity, yes, but I thought it might have some interesting applications with legal thinking.  If not, oh well.  But I really think it will help me get in the habit of thinking outside the box and help me develop the artistry that really can be the legal profession.  The books discusses attitudes, approaches, and habits that foster creativity.  I really enjoy Gilbert's writing, so I definitely look forward to reading this one.

Getting Things Done by David Allen  I remember several people raving about this one in the not too distant past.  Like I already mentioned, I have a lot going on that I must do and a lot that I would like to add in.  I've been feeling like I've had a time management problem.  I ordered the book immediately.  Can't wait until it gets here.  I did some more research on the system this afternoon and I think it will really help.  It's supposed to help you organize your thoughts and to-do list and help you make the most of your time.  I listened to a TED Talk by Allen today that, I think, kind of previewed some of his philosophy and it was fantastic.  I took notes.

Now I just need to decide which book to read first!


Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Ten Bookish Things I Want to Quit Or Have Quit, Specifically Books We Had To DNF

For future Top Ten Tuesday topics & info on how to participate, click here!

This week we chose, out of all the bookish things to quit, all the books we quit reading!

Lauren's Picks

The following books I unfortunately had to DNF, which is the saddest thing ever. Besides the looks that puppies give you when you have food. All I'm going to say so as not to offend anyone who likes these books, is that I tried. I tried and they just weren't for me.

3 -- Halo by Alexandra Adornetto

Bridget's Picks

I've had a lot of trouble finishing books I start recently, which I think says more about me than the books necessarily—or at least the mood I've been in recently (that is, the mood to not have to think very hard when I read). So, here are a few books I've given up on in the past few months, but hope to return to when I'm in a more compatible state of mind:

4 -- The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton
5 -- Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk
6 -- Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
7 -- The Country of Ice Cream Star by Sandra Newman

Daisy's Picks

One of these was just too much blah and not enough awesomeness to weigh up to it, one of these had too much gruesomeness without characters I could find myself caring about and one is an extra-sad because I love Shana Galen's writing! But life is too short and my spare time to precious to be reading books that I'm not enjoying.

8 -- The Dragon Engine by Andy Remic
9 -- Dreamland by Robert L. Anderson
10 -- The Rogue You Know by Shana Galen

Tell us your bookish quit list!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Jamie Talks About The Last 3 Books She Read

Hey all! September was an awful reading month for me as I've mentioned on here earlier in the month (great month otherwise!). I only read 2 books and, while that's great compared to probably the rest of the world, it's so bizarre to have read so few books for me. But October is here and I've already read one book so hopefully I'll get back into the swing of reading!

Let's talk about the last 3 books I did read though!

Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman

This was such an adventurous romp through the Wild West! Definitely digging the Western setting -- gold mining, shootouts, lots of horse riding, gangs, etc. I enjoyed this book but it didn't quite make me LOVE it because I just didn't feel much for the characters. The main character is someone I felt badly for -- she lost her mother early on in life and now her dad just got murdered by a notoriously awful gang and she is driven by revenge to go find them and settle the score. But the problem was I didn't feel like she ever became more to me than a girl who was hellbent on exacting revenge. You see hints of other aspects of her character but I never felt anything except this revenge. There were some surprises in this book and I thought as far as the action and adventure went it was compelling but it was lacking in the character department for me.
I received this book for review consideration and this did not affect my opinion in any way.

Rating -- 3/5 stars


All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr: 

 This book was soooo hyped so I added myself to the library request list and waited until like literally 500 other people read it before me. FINALLY I received it! And guess what? It was JUST AS GOOD AS EVERYONE SAID. I loved it so much! I'm always a sucker for a WWII setting (probably one of my favorite settings for historical fiction) and I loved both POVs so much. I love the way it flipped timeframes and how that allowed their stories to unravel as we awaited how their path's would cross. COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN. Worthy of the praise!

Rating -- 4.5/5 stars




The Status of All Things by Liz Fenton & Liz Steinke: 

This was a quick and enjoyable read! It's about a woman whose marriage-to-be has fallen apart and she gets the chance to go back and change things. It had a supernatural sort of method like Landline by Rainbow Rowell for how she gets to go back and change things to make it better between she and her fiance though I found Landline to be more impactful and thoughtful for me. I also really enjoyed the conversation about social media and how it can be good but also how it can be deceiving. 

Rating -- 3/5 stars



Have you read any of these books? Thoughts? Tell me the last 3 books YOU read!!



Sunday, October 4, 2015

Our September Favorites & October TBR

We hope everyone had a great month of reading! :) Here's what we loved and what we are looking forward to!


Lauren's Pick

Ok... I'll admit this was a re-read, BUT... its FAHRENHEIT 451. C'mon. This will always be a favorite of mine and a staple in my household. The changes Guy Montag goes through, and he goes through them quite fast, make the book just utterly engrossing. You just can't stop reading!

Julia's Pick

I finally finished a book! And it was actually good. This is the second in a series, and I read the first a year ago. But I was able to jump back in the world really easily. And I absolutely loved this couple. I actually lost this book on an airplane and was devastated. But I had my boarding pass in it and thus someone returned it to me! Totally worth reading.

Daisy's Pick

I totally adored this next instalment in the Queen of Glass series and OMG it was just epic and I loved every minute of reading this. Also: I NEED the next book NOW! 


Lauren's Pick

So I read Vicious by Schwab and fell in love. I am positive that I'm going to fall in love again this month.

Julia's Pick

The Legend of Lyon Redmond by Julie Anne Long
The FINAL in the Pennyroyal Green series! I am so excited for this!! I think I am one book behind though, but still. This book is going to be in my hands soon.

Seriously, if you're a fantasy fan and you're not reading this series, then you should go add it to your TBR right now. It's amazing and bantery and gender-bender-y and just YES ok? I really feel the urge to re-read the first two books in this series to prepare for The Immortal Heights. Sad this series is ending though...

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

It Turns Out That I Can Kinda Deal With Romance. Occasionally.

Romance in books seems to be one of the most contentious topic debates in the blogging world. Considering the love-it-or-hate-it debates around Fifty Shades of Grey and Twilight, the topic of romance has become more polarizing than ever.

I, personally, am no particular fan of romance. After spending about three straight years devouring almost everything V. C. Andrews ever wrote, I—understandably, I think—got a little sick of romance. Though I more or less stopped reading V. C. Andrews a decade ago, my general impatience with romance hasn’t abated much. In so many cases, romances in books follow the same insipid pattern: instalove, misunderstandings (however many they need to keep the book going), then happy ending (probably). So predictable, so blah. So not my thing.

Because of this, I tend to avoid anything that openly advertises romance in the blurb or in the title (or—puke—on the cover). There are plenty of other genres to keep me interested; I haven’t really felt the lack of romance in my life. I will admit—I think this miiiiight have something to do with the fact that I’ve been in a serious relationship for seven years, and it’s pretty easy to see how unrealistic most fictional relationships are. This might not be the case for all fictional relationships, but it’s the case for a lot of them, in my opinion.

I did, however, just recently pick up (and enjoy!) two different books that advertised romance. And frankly, I was surprised to find that I didn’t hate them. I mean, yeah, the romances were terribly unrealistic in a lot of ways and frankly like “…how? Why?” but since I knew it was coming, I didn’t mind it so much. And I think I hit on what I dislike about books with romance: when the romance is unexpected.

If I’m reading a thriller or a horror story or something, the last thing I want is a romance getting in the way of things. Like, I get that it makes the stakes higher because now the guy HAS TO SAVE THE GIRL THAT HE JUST MAGICALLY FELL IN LOVE WITH TWO DAYS AGO, but…it would be nice if, for once, someone wants to solve a crime or whatever for the sake of…justice? Doing the right thing? I don’t know. There are so many situations where the romance is superfluous or frankly just annoying.

But knowing one was coming, and knowing I had willingly picked up the books knowing this, helped me let it slide a little bit more, and I even let myself enjoy it. It’s still not really my thing anymore, but at least now I know that I won’t hate everything that hints at romance. The key for me, too, was that the romance in each of these books, though certainly part of and important to the plot, was still secondary to the main storyline.

So believe it or not, after a decade or more of avoiding romance and being annoyed anytime it popped up somewhere I didn’t expect, it seems my horizons have re-expanded to tentatively include romance again, or to at least not exclude it completely.

Are there topics like this that you tend to avoid, but don’t mind occasionally—as long as you’re aware of them?

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Ten Books To Read If You Like These Popular Books/Authors

For future Top Ten Tuesday topics & info on how to participate, click here!

Lauren's Picks

The bestselling author I chose for this week's TTT is the infamous Hugh Howey, author of The Silo Series. The Silo Serious is true dystopian at its best. If you are looking for a novel with an unsettling society, a penchant for relatable characters, or just some classic science fiction, below are a few recommendations if you like any of Hugh Howey's novels.

Bridget's Picks

I've always been a fan of thrillers, and 2015 has been a great year for discovering new ones! If you loved The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins (and I know a lot of people did, myself included), tend to like unreliable narrators, and love a fast-paced psychological thriller, give these books a try:

Jamie's Pick

7. If you like Landline by Rainbow Rowell, read The Status of All Things by Liz Fenton

It's got that supernatural element to let the main character go back and try and fix her relationship with her fiance before the moment it all went wrong.

Julia's Picks

I don't read a lot of popular to the masses fiction, but I have read a lot of romances. Julia Quinn is one of the most popular historical romance authors and thus I recommend these three books that are sort of in line with the same style Julia Quinn used in her old Bridgerton books. They are all at random parts in a series but still good books on their own.

9 -- What I Did for a Duke by Julie Anne Long
10 -- A Rogue by Any Other Name by Sarah MacLean 

Tell us your readalikes!!

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