• Bookish,  Lists,  Recommendations

    Feel Good Books : Recommendations

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    What do you read after a book that wrecks you? A Little Life – I’m looking at you. And this type of book doesn’t have to be rainbows and sunshine; just a different range of emotions or a unique quality to the book.

    My criteria:

    • Rich characters that aren’t always up to something sinister or awful.
    • Originality. Have you ever read a book and wondered how an author even came up with the idea for the book?
    • Mystery without the gore and with great twists of the plot.
    • A story of an ordinary family that overcomes ordinary family issues.
    • A story of redemption. The ending may not be fairytale perfect but you feel good about where the characters ended up.

    Here are five of my favorite feel good books… in no particular order:

    1. Rules of Civility by Amor Towles – Set in the late 1930’s, this is a coming of age story set in New York City. The characters are so diverse, interesting, and each have their struggles which make each interesting to follow. The writing in this book is excellent and the constant descriptions of martinis inspired me to try my first dirty martini. Now, that’s good descriptive writing!
    2. Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough – This book falls into the mystery category. The twists are unbelievable and I’m usually pretty good at figuring them out ahead of time. Adele, one of the main characters, made my Top 10 Villain list.
    3. Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood – Atwood creates a story of redemption through the arts with a production of Shakespeare’s The Tempest in a prison. There’s also a touch of sweet revenge.
    4. The Art of Mending by Elizabeth Berg – I read this book once a year. It’s about a family that appears functional on the surface but is anything but. As the plot develops, it’s so enjoyable to watch distant siblings come together.
    5. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon – This is one of the most original books I have read. A 15-year-old boy on the autism spectrum investigates the death of his neighbor’s dog Sherlock Holmes-style while navigating life, school, and the world that he sees very different at times.

    What are some of your feel good book recommendations?


  • ARC's,  Book Reviews,  Bookish,  Recommendations

    ARC’s: Advanced Reader Copies and how to get them

    What is an ARC? It’s essentially a book release 3-6 months ahead of publication to librarians, booksellers, professional readers, reviewers, contest winners, etc. The cover and contents may differ because it may not be in it’s final published form.

    I stumbled upon my first ARC purely by luck. It was Baby Teeth by Zoe Stage… which, BTW is a great creepy book for this time of year.

    I honestly don’t remember how I found the request link for Baby Teeth but one day a book showed up in my mailbox with a few instructions about the publication date, hashtags to use on social media, posting pictures, and the timing of the review. I remember thinking, “how cool is this? A free book to read and review!”.

    Then I just had to convince my husband that the book was indeed free and, no I did not order yet another book. I also may or may have not let him also think that with other books that have since arrived on our doorstep.

    Over the course of this year, I have discovered that I really enjoy not just reading new books but writing and sharing book reviews. What a great combination!

    This week I started looking at NetGalley, a site for “readers of influence”, to request ARC’s from hundreds of publishers listed on their site.

    I registered, filled out my profile, and found a few of my favorite publishers. Now, I had read on other blogs that it’s fairly common for your request to get turned down so I requested 15 books just to increase my chances.

    I was sent 14 of the 15 and they now live on my new Kindle.

    So here are a few things that I’ve learned from this process:

    1. Fill out your profile as completely as possible. Some publishers have very specific things that they are looking for, I.E. an active blog, a Goodreads account, an Instagram following, a history of solid reviews, etc.
    2. Request books that fit with the preferred genres listed in your profile.
    3. Be mindful of the publication dates – I’m so glad I did this because I will still be able to handle 14 books to read and review.
    4. Make a schedule of your books and what needs to be read first and then the dates the publisher requests you to abide by as well.
    5. Be OK with e-reader copies. We just de-cluttered our entire home so I’m really happy with electronic copies. It’s also more environmentally friendly.

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    This also gave me an excuse to buy the Kindle Oasis which I am super happy with. It is waterproof, super light, glare-free, has page turn buttons, the screen adjusts based on the light in the room, and probably my favorite feature: it has built-in Audible with Bluetooth capability.

    Happy reading!

    Do you read ARC’s? What has been your favorite book you have received?

  • Bookish,  Lists,  Recommendations,  Writing

    5 Star Recommendations

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    What makes a book a 5 star book for you?

    My criteria includes:

    • Characters that are interesting, endearing, or so good at being so evil.
    • Writing that is sound and has a clear voice.
    • Imagery. This is a big one for me. If I can hear it, taste it, see it, smell it, or touch it, I’m probably going to be your biggest fan.
    • Relatable. Even if I’m not a Crazy Rich Asian; if there are elements I can relate to, I will find this kind of book enjoyable.
    • Powerful and compelling. Do the characters and story stick with me days/weeks after finishing the book?

    Here are five of my favorite 5 star books from 2018… in no particular order:

        1. A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara – One character: Jude. Remember those books and characters that stick with you? I still think about Jude almost six months later.
        1. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens – Imagery set this book a part from other coming of age novels. I could hear, smell, see, and taste the marsh air when I listened to this audiobook.
        1. The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman- I found myself so interested in each character; their likes, dislike, quirks, and faults. You know it’s a good character when even their faults are appealing.
        1. What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty – Alice, the main character, had such a strong voice and inner dialogue. And that is despite losing her memory in the book.
        1. Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal – I am not a Punjabi widow but I found this book to be so relatable. Reading a book about a community of women gaining their collective voice despite old beliefs and opposition reminds me very much of where we are in 2018 with #metoo and #believesurvivors. There is power in community; especially a community of women supporting other women

    I’m curious, because all readers are different, what are some of your favorite five-star books?

     

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