2017 Favorites and 2018 Reading Goals

Spoiler free as always!

In 2017 I have read 26 books, I am pretty proud of this considering I’m a very busy person. I am however disappointed in the content I have read. I feel like I was very generous with my ratings and reviews this past year, but looking back I wasn’t wowed by very many books. So picking favorites for the year wasn’t very hard. I only chose three and they are in no particular order. They are as follows; A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, Walled City by Ryan Graudin and Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth. I do have reviews up for all of these so here is a brief summary of my enjoyment of these three!

A Monster Calls was a short, quick but emotional read. This is one of my favorites for the year because of the fact that I felt all of the emotions with this story. I cried a lot within the limited number of pages and I haven’t cried over a book in roughly two years! Also the illustrations in the book are beautiful! Walled City is a dystopian and I love dystopian! But lately they haven’t been making the cut with me, all of the dystopians I have read have been lacking. Walled City was refreshing with several unique characters and a fascinating setting! Also the authors writing is gripping. Carve the Mark. This book caused so many problems within the book community, it is so controversial. I loved it. The author reached with this story and it was gripping. I also loved reading about how everyone was so overwhelmed and upset by this book. You know the book is good when it causes a lot hype over controversial topics. I am a big fan of Veronica Roth so this was a win for me!

2018 Reading Goal and Challenges!

Over the past few months I have noticed my reading tastes changing. I have been focused a lot on reading as many books as I can regardless of if I enjoy it. This year I want quality over quantity! I will set a goal of 18 books but I want to enjoy what I’m reading and I want the stories to stick with me. I’m not going to be so generous with ratings and reviews and if I am not enjoying it, it’s ok if I don’t finish the book.

But I am going to challenge myself while reading. Here is my short list of challenges:

Read a book with 500+ pages. Large books intimidate me but I really want to tackle this one! Read an award winning book, quality over quantity again. Read a classic, this will always be on the challenge because I forever skip it. Re-read a favorite, I want to avoid slumps because I had three this year and reading favorites again always helps with slumps. And finally finish two series! I love stand alones but I have so many unfinished series!! For additional challenges I have decided to try to read 5 books from my tbr shelf and 5 books from my kindle. As for my blog…I will try to post once a month and I would like to improve my content, advice welcome!

2017 was not a good Reading year for my but I am going to try to make 2018 better! Embrace slumps and changes in tastes and fears. It’s going to be positive. As always thank you for reading my rambles and until next time,

Tiffany

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Broken Moon Review

This book was kindly sent to me for review by the author. Thank you.

***spoiler free***

Broken Moon follows Naiya, a young girl with a mysterious future ahead of her. She and her two brother encounter some interesting new friends while on the run from the society they grew up in. This story reads very much like a dystopian novel with some science fiction aspects. I’ll begin with what I liked about this book.

It’s very fast paced. It took me three days to read, if I didn’t have to work it would be finished in a day. The characters are constantly moving and there are new characters being introduced all the time. I felt like I was reading loads within a relatively short period of time. Pacing is a big thing with me in books, if it’s too slow I will automatically DNF (did not finish) the book no matter how great if it’s too slow. There was a lot to take in!

But this is where I found a lot of issues for me in the book. Starting with there being so much to take. I like that there is so much going on within the story, but there are loose ends everywhere. Another topic or problem is introduced without one being finished. There also isn’t a lot of detail explaining the new topics so you are left a bit confused for a few chapters. I kept reading excited to find out what all these things the character were discovering were and how they were going to play into the plot and I didn’t get as much of that as I wanted. The copies of the people that are being made is very interesting and I can see how that may blend with the concept of Terminus which seems to be this dimension between life and death, but I wish there was more details so we can theorize where the plot is going, how a war is going to happen in a place like that and what our main characters have to do with all of it. Now obviously this is going to be a series, there is no way all those loose ends are just going to sit there without further explanation. That makes me happy.

Details. I wanted more details the entire time. I felt like everything was explained only to the bare minimum. Clues, new info the characters picked up, fight and chase scenes, the stand offs and even the setting. I’m a big setting person, I want to be submerged in the story with the characters and world building is how I do it. Basically all that was explained is that everything is metal and everything goes up. The rich live on the bottom the poor in the top. And the wall surrounding the city, I understand that’s a big thing with science fiction and dystopian novels. Being trapped in your city and encountering outsiders at some point. But there is so much more to be done with the dystopian concept. The idea of dystopian is a fallen utopian society. So why does every fallen society have to have this wall? It’s driving me crazy! I feel like it limits the story and makes it blend in with all the other books in the genre. Give me something that stands out.

Another thing that bothered me was there was very little character development. The only development was Naiya becoming aware of this power she possesses. Not growing into it, which I did like that the author didn’t rush that. But there was no personal development for Naiya. She already is the “perfect character” she doesn’t need to develop confidence or determinations because she has them already. Her only character flaw seemed to be that she has a strange crush on the main male character Enoch who is her adoptive brother. I was excited for this to be told from a sibling perspective so her crush kind of weirded me out for awhile but the love story was not the center focus of the story which is fantastic!

Overall I gave this book a 3/5 Stars. I enjoyed where the story is going and hold out hope for future books. I am curious to find out where all these loose ends will go and how the characters play into the strange ongoings.

As always, thank you for reading my rambles and until next time,

Tiffany

The Widow Review

***Spoiler Free***

The Widow by Fiona Barton is a physiological thriller that really makes you think. 

The story is told through multiple perspectives as we follow these people in the search for a missing two year old girl named Bella. Along the way horrible secrets are uncovered and we get to see how that slowly drives people apart.

Of all the characters I had two favorites: DI Sparks and the Widow, Jean. DI Dparks is the detective handling Bella’s case and it had not only engrossed him mentally as a detective but it begins to take a massive effect on his emotions. The author does a wonderful job of describing and displaying emotion with her characters. I believe that is another factor that makes this story so consuming, these areaverage people and as you read, you feel these emotions with the characters. Sparked also Reads people very well and is persistent.

The Widow. Jean is a very dynamic character. She begins as every normal person is, loves her husband and her job. But as the story progresses and she learns things about her husband she never knew and how involved in Bella’s disappearance he is we get to see her slowly unwind. Watching a character come undone is fascinating to me. It usually happens in one of two ways: they snap quickly or they try to make sense of these things as they slowly being to unravel. For Jean it’s the later. At first she stands by her husband but as time progresses we see her losing her vigor to maintain his lies and excuses. Her character development through the story and finally her ending result is astonishing. 

Fiona Barton is defiantly and author I will pick up again. Her writing style is beautiful and smooth. The way she executes her plot is outstanding. 5/5 Stars. 

As always, thank you for reading my rambles and until next time,

Tiffany

Reading Vs. Adulting

This is not a review, I just want to talk about life and incorporating reading into it. 

For those of you who don’t already know: I’m 22 years old, a full time student, I work four part time jobs and I’m happily married. For my age, that is a hefty amount of things on my plate. It could be worse, yes, but I am extremely lucky to have this life. With all of that my favorite thing to do is read. Before I decided to “become an adult” I averaged between 70-80 books a year and could get through about two books a week. Now a days, I’m lucky if I start the book club book before the meeting. 

Reading has always been so important to me, it is comforting and relaxing and fills me with an overall sense of joy. And I will forever be greatful for the privilege to do that. But in the past few months I feel like reading has been placed on the back burner. Having all these adult responsibilities not only to myself but to others as well has really taken a toll on my reading frequency. Between classes, homework, five-six hours at this job, five more hours at that job and making time to actually see my husband I get a total of maybe twenty minutes to read. If that. 

But the fact of the matter is when you are in the middle stage of life, or as I like to call it, the getting yourself together stage, it is truly hard to just sit down and take a moment for yourself and read. You’re tired, cranky and have a million things to do. 

Maybe I’ll get my life in order soon or maybe not, but please bare with me. I will try to get more reviews up as soon as I can or I’ll try to add more hours to the day. Who knows. But if you have any ideas about adding more time to read into my day please let me know. I just needed to rant a bit. 

As always thanks for reading my ramble and until next time, 

Tiffany

Code Talkers Review

Code Talkers by Joseph Bruchac follows the life of a Navajo Marine from his days in school to his days as a marine in World War Two. I will attempt to keep this as spoiler free as possible!

We follow Kii Yazhi a young boy from a Navajo tribe who goes to the “white mans school” where he is forced to learn English, history, math and science. The basic things you learn in school. He is also taught that the Navajo way is bad. Being an Indian is bad. Speaking his native language is forbidden. All through his schooling he maintains his knowledge of his sacred language while learning to speak English. Then, one year when he is fifteen a marine recruiter shows up at his school looking for Navajos 17-25 who are proficient in both languages. They are needed for a special job in the war. Wanting desperately to join but being too young, Ned Begay (he was forced to change his name in the school), goes to his parents to ask for their blessing. After waiting a year, Ned joins the marines and goes through extensive training to become a Navajo Code Talker. From then on we hear stories of his experiences with his unit fighting in the pacific. 

I was beyond happy to finally pick this book up! I haven’t come across many books that embrace the Native American culture or their contributions in World War Two. Being Lakota, I have decided that I really want to read more books with Native American characters, cultures and customs.  I have heard people talk about the importance of the Code Talkers in the war but most of the time the topic is just glazed over. Especially in a recent history class that I took, there was a whole section about them and I was genuinely excited to get to it, but the professor just flew over it. For those of you who aren’t away what a code Talker is, they were Native American Maribes in World War Two who were trained to transcribe their native language into codes that code be sent over radio, but these codes had to be so secure that the Enemy couldn’t figure them out. And this worked! This book was really heart warming and reached past the expectations I had for it! 

This book in particular had a unique writing style, the words themselves flowed very smoothly but the narration is what got me. It begins as if Ned is about to tell his grandchildren the story of his life and he does. The middle is a giant flash back to these days and the end picks up like a story to the children again. The author made sure all of the events were in chronological order and gave just enough detail to paint the scene in your head without going over board. 

Overall I gave this a 4/5 stars, mainly because I really wanted more of his life after he returned home. The ending was slightly abrupt. But I enjoyed this thoroughly and plan on reteading this again. Thank you for reading my rambles and until next time,

Tiffany 📚

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close Review

Jonathan Safran Foer is known for writing such meaningful and brilliant novels, his work is highly praised across the globe. I was so excited to finally read something of his and I had such high expectations for this book, unfortunately I didn’t enjoy it as much as I had hoped. 

When picking up this book, all I had heard was how absolutely wonderful it was! It held so much meaning and it was whimsical! While the book did hold those qualities, they didn’t strike me as hard as I had hoped for. 

We follow a nine year old boy by the name of Oskar. Oskars father died in the attacks on 9/11. This heartbroken boy stumbles upon a key in his late fathers closet and is determined to find what it opens. He wonders maybe his father left it for him to find. He spends well over eight months scowering the city of New York to find its lock and meets wonderful people along the way. But I’d ultimately let down when the key is unrelated to his father. 

I was bewildered by the fact that we had a book that took place around such a large American Tragedy. The attacks on the World Trade Center are not something we see in literature, especially young adult literature and it astounded me that the author thought to base a story around one young boy who was so effected by this event. I loved the fact that we followed such a young character, who is experiencing a plethora of emotions and is searching for answers he may never get. That will hit anyone in the feels, regardless of where you are from! 

I feel for Oskar, he is depressed and this key gives him something to put his mind to for awhile and helps him cope with his lose. I was really hopting to see more symbolism in this story, as I am sure there is. I just missed it. I don’t think I read this book at an appropriate time in my life to see all of it. It took me nearly a month to complete. But the symbolism I did see, I loved enough to want to reread this later in my life. I loved that Oskar was scared to show his mother the recordings he hid of his dads calls. I loved that his mother knew that he was walking around New York City searching for this key and never told her son she would call all these people he would meet ahead of time to keep him safe. I love the deep and profound love his grandmother has for him. I think I enjoyed reading the tidbits we get from Oskars grandma the most. We get an onsite into why his grandfather left and what an odd relationship they had, we get to see a man trying to redeem himself to be in his grandsons life. There are so many touching moments in this story and it saddens me that I didn’t get the impact I was expecting. 

Overall, at this point in time, I gave the book a 2.75/5 stars. I will round that up, 3/5 stars. The writing was beautiful, but slow at times. I love the symbolism I did see and hope to see more when I reread this at a later date. I feel like we lost sight of the plot at times, some of the events in the book just didn’t fit. This book was way over hyped though and I believe that is part of the reason I am still holding out hope. But I will continue to hold that hope. Thank you for reading my rambles and until next time,

Tiffany

Redeeming Love Review

I have never read a Christian Historical Fiction. I have never read a Christian anything aside from the Bible. It’s just not something that has been for me, but when a dear friend of mine handed a copy to me and told me I had to read her favorite book…you bet I read it. 

 We follow two main characters the first bring a prostitute named Angel and the second a god loving farmer named Micheal. This novel is set during the California Gold Rush, no it’s not what you’re thinking. Micheal receives a message from God, who has a strong presence in the book (keep in mind the genre) that he is to marry Angel. Angel is a woman who has had a hard life starting from childhood. She was the product of an affair, grew up knowing her father didn’t want her, her mother was a prostitue who died when she was eight, then at that same age she was sold into prostitution to a child molester. All her life, prostitution is all she has known. Please the man, get the money. And she is stuck in her ways. So when micheal shows up determined to marry her, she protests. Micheal is an honest, good man, seeking a good life with a wife he can love forever. After servicing a brutal beating micheal marries her and takes her back to his farm where he is determined to help her lead a better life. 

I opened this book and told myself I was going to keep an open mind. I am extremely judgmental when it comes to any sort of religious aspect in any book no matter how hard I try not to be.  It’s just something I feel is extremely dramatized or is never done without being overbearing, even if its only a paragraph in the entire book. But. I am a person who will support you in whatever faith you have whether it’s a singular god, an unknown force or an inanimate object. It’s your right to worship whatever you want and I think that is wonderful! But it bothers me that people tell you that you are wrong for believing something different. You’re not. So I am a little ashamed that I didn’t keep my mind wide open when I started this. For the first 100-150 pages, the characters would say or do something and I would judge them, hard core. So I had to stop and give myself a talking to, upon picking it up again I found it so much easier to read! Because it’s ok that the authors views differ from my own, I’m here to enjoy this story. And I did very much. 

Micheal. Micheal. Micheal. For a good three fourths of this book I was very annoyed with his character. Micheals character is self explanatory, he is honest and good and wants a woman to spend his life with. But some of his behaviors and mannerisms worked themselves to the point of overbearing to me. Some of the actions he took I respected him for, like not having sex with Angel until she was ready even though he wanted to. Others I wanted to slap him for. I felt there were several times in the story that he was pushing Angel too hard and that only added to her reluctance, which I know the author did on purpose but, it’s still irritating. The last portion of the book he grew on me a bit because he was at his breaking point, we got to see just how much of a toll this woman had taken on him. 

Angel. Loved this character. She’s knows she’s been through hell but still manages to keep her head up. She’s strong willed, stubborn and smart. When she does finally admit to wanting a life with Micheal, witnessing her character growth is stupendous! Her growth throughout the book is stupendous! There isn’t much to say on her because she is such a wonderful and well written character that you relate to her without experiencing her hardships. 

Overall this book was a rather quick read despite the size. It was fun two watch these two characters grow on each other and into a life together. The writing was elegant and flowed very well. 4/5 stars! Thank you for reading my rambles and until next time,

Tiffany