Diverse Stacks, Diverse Lives Narrator Reading Challenge UPDATE

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We are now halfway through June so I can accurately say we are halfway through the year.  It’s time to check in and see how we are doing with our reading challenges.  This year we decided to split up our Diverse Stacks, Diverse Lives Reading challenge into two different.  One for authors and one for narrators.  I’m doing the Narrators and I have to say, I’m doing pretty well.  Now, I think there may be a few arguments over some of my books but who doesn’t love a good debate?  Going off my list of the books I’ve read, I discovered that there were a few things we should have discussed before setting the challenge out.  For instance, can you use the same book for different categories if they have more then one Narrator?  I’m going to go with yes because you are getting different perspectives from different characters.  So  here we go.

  1.  Book with a Queer Narrator: The Dark Prophecy by Rick Riordan.  Narrator: Apollo.  Ok, so this maybe a stretch because as Kate asked me Can we apply modern categories of sexuality to ancient Gods?  Well I don’t know, but in The Dark Prophecy, Apollo is currently exiled to Earth as a mortal and while being on Earth has shown equal interest in both Men and Women.  So, in the context of the book, I’m counting it.
  2. Book with a African American Narrator: March Vols. 1-3 by Congressman John Lewis. Narrator: John Lewis
  3. Book with characters from various socio-economic backgrounds Silver Stars by Michael Grant.  Narrators: Frangie, Rainey and Rio
  4. Books with Asian American Narrator: Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han and The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon. Narrators: Lara Jean and Daniel.  I decided to count both since they are both Asian Americans but they have very different perspectives on growing up in America.  Lara Jean is definitely your more typical middle class teenage girl who grew up in the suburbs.  She’s also mixed because of her Dad is white so she straddles both sides.  Daniel grew up in New York City and is the son of two immigrant parents. (I thought about using Natasha from The Sun is also a Star as my African American Narrator but technically speaking she’s not American as her family was living in the US illegally)
  5. Book with a Narrator who has survived abuse: A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas. Narrator : Feyre.  I really could have picked any character in this book but since it’s all from Feyre’s point of view she gets the top billing.
  6. A Book with a Mexican Narrator: Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare. Narrator: Cristina.  I admit I maybe stretching it a little thin with this one.  Cristina is one of six narrators in Lord of Shadows and not one of the two main characters but she is an important to the story as a whole so for now I’m counting it but it might change before the year is out.
  7. A Book with a Muslim Narrator: Ms. Marvel Vols. 2-4 by G. Willow Wilson. Narrator: Kamala
  8. A Book with a Jewish Narrator: Silver Stars by Michael Grant. Narrator: Rainey I know that I have already used Silver Stars before but Rainey is a fascinating character.  I love reading her.
  9. A Book with an atheist Narrator: Believe Me by Eddie Izzard. Narrator: Eddie Izzard.  He doesn’t go too much into his atheism but he does make it very clear he doesn’t believe in any god.

9 out of 15 is pretty good.  Even if you take out the few iffy ones, I’m still over halfway done with my challenge.  How are you doing?

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Quick Review: A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J Maas

a court of wings and ruinThis is a story of how people deal with abuse.  No seriously.  Yes, they are mostly fairies and there is magic and takes place in a land full of both of those things but deep down it’s about the effects of abuse and how we deal with it.  Almost every character has suffered some kind of abuse one way or another.  In A Court of Mist and Fury, the second book of the series, I talked about Feyre’s recovery from not only what happened to her at the end of the first book but emotional abuse she suffered at the hands of Tamlin but Feyre’s not the only one.  Maybe one of the reasons why she and Rhys get along so well, besides that they are mates, is because he also has been abused.  Mor, Cassian, and Azriel all have suffered through emotional, physical and sexual abuse.  They all continue to deal the invisible scars left from it.  On the outside they seem okay but in private with each other, they can share their pain. It’s this reason that this series is important because it doesn’t shy away from these uncomfortable topics but faces them head on.  We struggle through them as the characters struggle with them.  I also think that is why I love Rhys so much.  This is a guy who would do anything for his family, his friends.  Submit himself to such tortures.  Allow the world to see him as a monster.  All to protect his people but he still came out of with hope for a better future.  He took Feyre in knowing she was his mate but never pushed her.  Never forced it on her because he knew what she was going through.  Knew the pain that she was feeling.  Knew how important choices are and never wanted to take that away from her or anyone.  The compassion he shows to Feyre, Mor, Cassian, Azriel and to his people is remarkable.

As for the book itself, it is possible to love a series and book but also not really like it. I experience that with the first book, A Court of Thorns and Roses. I originally felt it was too long and should have ended long before it did or at least be split in two books. It wasn’t until I read the sequel did I understand what I really didn’t like about it and why it was written the way that it was. A Court of Wings and Ruin, I thought it had the opposite problem.  It started off slowly for me and really didn’t pick up until more then halfway through.  I felt there was a lot of unnecessary maneuvering as they prepared for war with Hybern.  I will admit that in the end all of that turned out to be important to the finale of the book but it felt tedious at times.  However, when it got it groove back, it was unstoppable.  It one epic battle at the end and it also brought us more of Feyre’s sister, Nesta, who is the Ice Queen we have always wanted but didn’t know.  The ending felt more like a ending of a series then a transition to the next book.  It definitely tied up some loose ends but there are enough left for another book but I just not seeing how there could be a bigger threat then Hybern.  I guess I will have to read the next book to find out.

May Flowers Bring New Books

The month of May has a lot of great new books coming out and of course I’m already behind in my to-read list. Sigh.  Anyway, here’s a list a few books that I’m definitely going to try to get to in May.  Let’s see how I’ll do.

May 2:

Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

The Dark Prophecy by Rick Riordan

May 16:

Seeker by Veronica Rossi

May 23:

Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare

May 30:

Dark Breaks the Dawn by Sara B. Larson

 

Top 10 Books I’m Looking forwarded to reading in 2017

So 2016 is almost over.  Thank God or Oh No.  Who knows what 2017 will bring but we do know it will bring plenty of good books.  Here are 10 I’m really looking forward too.

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  1. Pyromantic by Lish McBride. – I was lucky enough to get an advanced copy of this one and it was everything I hoped it would. I can’t wait for it to come out in March so I can read again.
  2. A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas – The second book was one of my favorite books of this year and the way it ended makes me even more excited for it.  Feyre is back in the Spring Court with Tamlin but this time she knows who she is and who he really is.
  3. Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han – I didn’t even know this was even in the works when I read To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before and it’s sequel P.S. I Still Love You earlier this year.  I found the two books to be very charming and sweet.  I loved Lara Jean and Peter and I thought their story was over but I guess not.  I’m still holding out for Kitty novel. song-rising
  4. The Song Rising by Samantha Shannon – This is another book I got an early look at and for all of you still waiting, it’ll be worth it.  I’m going to re-read The Bone Season and The Mime-Order again before this one comes out.
  5. King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard – Mare gave herself up to Maven and who knows what that sadistic bastard has planned for her.  Will Cal save her or will she save herself? Will Farley forgive her?  The rebellion continues
  6. The Untitled 3rd book of the Ember in the Ashes series by Sabaa Tahir- This is such an awesome series I can’t say enough great things about it.  Who knows what will happen next as Laia, Elias and Helene take on the Martials.
  7. Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth – This Veronica’s first book since the Divergent series ended.  No matter how you felt about Allegiant you have to admit that Roth is one brave storyteller.
  8. Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor – If her last series, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, is anything to go by this one is going to be a real crowd pleaser!
  9. The Ship of the Dead and The Dark Prophecy by Rick Riordan – Rick Riordan has been on a winning streak lately with both his Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard and The Trials of Apollo series’.  Not only are they imaginative they are truly fun.  Riordan hasn’t been afraid to take on tough subjects and bring a diverse cast of characters to his books and make them both relatable and accessible.  It’s going to be a busy year for Percy Jackson.
  10. Silver Stars by Michael Grant – In this revisionist history story we met three brave women who are fighting in World War 2.  The end of the last book saw our three heroines have all survived their first battle but the war is still a few years from ending.  There are more battles to be fought before our heroines get to go home.

What books are you looking forward to reading in 2017?