Posted in book tags/memes

Top 10 Tuesday: New Authors I Read in 2018

This is a weekly meme that was created by The Broke and the Bookish, and is now being hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Every week, there’s a theme and you choose ten books that fit it. Check out upcoming topics here.


I’m pretty sure this is supposed to exclude debuts, but I had to add in two of those to get to ten. (Besides, it felt kind of wrong to leave them off the list, because I did enjoy both of their books.)

In no particular order (except that the two debuts are at the end)…


Mackenzi Lee– I read The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue and fell head over heels for Lee’s writing. I didn’t love The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy as much, but I will definitely be checking out more of her books in the future.

Elizabeth Acevedo– The Poet X was one of my absolute favorite reads last year (I reviewed it here), and I can’t wait to read more.

Rin Chupeco– Oh my gosh, why (WHY?!) did I wait so long to read The Girl From the Well?! Because I’m a moron, that’s why. It was so good, and the sequel (The Suffering) might have been even better. I can’t wait to start The Bone Witch ASAP.

Marisha Pessl– Somehow, I tore through Night Film in just a couple of days back in November. It’s a hefty book, but it was so good I couldn’t put it down (check out my review for more info). I’m really looking forward to reading some of her other books as soon as I can get my hands on them.

Michelle Tea– I read her book Modern Tarot last year and absolutely adored most of it. It really changed the way I read tarot, and gave me a new perspective on things. I’m not going to go out of my way to grab her other books, but I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for them.

Gail Carson Levine– Yep, it took me until I was almost 30 to finally read Ella Enchanted, and it was so much fun. I’m planning to try more of her books, maybe later this year, and I’ll definitely be sharing them with my kid.

Nina LaCour– I enjoyed the writing in Everything Leads to You probably more than the actual story :/ I just had such high expectations for that book, and it fell a little short. It was still really good, I just wanted to love it, and I came out of it just really liking it. Still, I’m looking forward to picking up more of LaCour’s books in the future.

Mark Dunn– I’m not sure if I’ll be seeking out more of Dunn’s books, but I did like Ella Minnow Pea a lot, and I definitely recommend it. (Psst! If you’re doing a reading challenge that has a task for reading an epistolary novel, this one counts, and it’s quite short and easy to read!)

Adrienne Young– Sky in the Deep (my review) wasn’t my favorite book last year, but I think I gave it four out of five stars. The writing was pretty good, and I’m really curious to see what else Young will come up with.

Shea Ernshaw– Okay, so The Wicked Deep (review) was also not my favorite book, and I did have some issues with it (that I can’t talk about because ~spoilers~), but the writing! The writing was so good! This was such an atmospheric book, and I’m anxiously awaiting something new from Ernshaw.


Who were some of your favorite new-to-you authors last year?

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Posted in book tags/memes

T5W: Best Books I’ve Read This Year

T5W is a weekly meme created by Lainey from gingerreadslainey, now hosted by Sam from ThoughtsOnTomes. You can check out the goodreads group to learn more.

July 4th: Best Books You’ve Read So Far in 2018

This one was easier than I expected, yay! In no particular order…




The Poet X
by Elizabeth Acevedo– I read this one back in April and absolutely loved it. It’s a novel in verse, and an emotional read. (Reviewed here)

 

 


 

Obsidio by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff– Do I need to say anything about this one? ❤

 

 



The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue
by Mackenzi Lee– I loved this book and tore through it in about a day and a half after I finally sat down and started reading it.

 

 



The Language of Thorns
by Leigh Bardugo– It’s Leigh Bardugo and fairy tale/folklore/myths-inspired stories, so of course I absolutely loved it. 

 

 


The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien– I finally finished this back in May and mostly loved it. (I think I actually rated it 4.5/5 stars, but only because I found the first half of Fellowship sooo slow to get started. After that, I got through it pretty fast.)

 

 


What are some of the best books you’ve read so far this year?

Posted in book review

Book Review: The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

Genres/Descriptors: contemporary; YA; poetry (a novel in verse)

Why I read it:  A novel about poetry/a poet, written in verse? How could I not pick it up?

Who I’d recommend it to: If you’re into poetry at all or have enjoyed verse novels in the past, and/or if you enjoy YA contemporary stories, I highly recommend this one. Even if you’re not sure if a novel in verse is for you, I’d still recommend checking it out.

My rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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What it’s about (from Goodreads):

A young girl in Harlem discovers slam poetry as a way to understand her mother’s religion and her own relationship to the world. Debut novel of renowned slam poet Elizabeth Acevedo.

Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. Ever since her body grew into curves, she has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking.

But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, and she pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers—especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, who her family can never know about. With Mami’s determination to force her daughter to obey the laws of the church, Xiomara understands that her thoughts are best kept to herself.

So when she is invited to join her school’s slam poetry club, she doesn’t know how she could ever attend without her mami finding out, much less speak her words out loud. But still, she can’t stop thinking about performing her poems.

Because in the face of a world that may not want to hear her, Xiomara refuses to be silent.


Review:

Are you screeching in excitement yet? Folks, I don’t know how this evaded me for so long (ok, I do know, it’s because I intentionally pulled back from the bookish world because I knew I couldn’t buy books for a long time, and I didn’t want to be sad). I didn’t hear anything about this until….well, actually until I happened across it on Over Drive and looked it up on Good Reads. Seriously, did I just miss all the buzz because I was getting my hermit on, or was there just basically none?

First up, let’s talk about that cover. So pretty, right?! That caught my eye first, followed quickly by the word “poet” in the title. The artist was Gabriel Moreno and I’m kind of obsessed. It’s just so gorgeous and perfect and I feel like it really goes with the book. Check out more of Gabriel’s art here, if you’re interested (I was, and I’m really loving it).

Ok, onward to the book itself!

As most novels in verse are, this was a pretty quick read. It’s a little over 350 pages, but I could have easily read it in one afternoon if I’d been able to sit long enough. (Don’t  you hate it when you’re really loving a book but things like laundry keep interrupting?) I tore through this book and I’m really thinking about buying a copy. I feel like I could re-read this one a few times.

Xiomara…oh gods, where do I start? This girl is a fighter, in more ways than one, and I feel like this book is very timely. I think teenagers today need more books like this in their lives, and I wish I’d had this book when I was 10-12 years younger, because it would have hit me even harder and inspired me even more. I can honestly see this making it onto reading lists at some point (I’m really not sure how that works, but I know it’s going to be on my kid’s reading list in a few years).

The home life Xiomara had really hit close to home for me in some ways. She grew up with a Catholic family, while I grew up in a Protestant home, but her relationship with her mother reminded me of my life a bit. I didn’t actually expect to relate a lot to anyone in this book, because their life experiences are very different than mine in pretty much every way, but it happened anyway and broke my heart. But Xiomara, wow. She handled things so well (I can’t think of a better way she could have handled anything, really), definitely better than I would have, and I felt so proud of her. There was this one scene with her mother that made me go cold all over because it brought back memories, and my heart ached for her. I had to take a break for a while after reading that bit.

I had so many feelings while reading this. I seriously laughed and cried, I cringed a little, I whispered “oh no,” I cheered internally (and might have had a little fist pumping at some point). So many feelings. It was a journey, and it was wonderful and so real. I felt inspired by Xiomara, and I feel like this book would have been amazing for teenage me. (It was amazing for adult me, but it would have been more amazing for teenage me.)

I enjoy more flowery writing with novels in verse sometimes (or poetry, or novels, in general, honestly), but the contemporary and sometimes very blunt writing in this novel, mixed with metaphors and imagery was refreshing and very well done. Which I guess shouldn’t be surprising considering Elizabeth Acevedo is an award-winning slam poet herself. This book was kind of a diary, and I feel like it read like that, if that makes sense. Like, this could have been a real diary, just written in verse. It felt very personal and raw a lot of the time, and it definitely (as I’ve said) gave me feelings

This book was just so good and I think I’ll be recommending it a lot.