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hopelessbibliophile

Jessica (HDB)

I'm a bookworm of the highest caliber! If you see me, I'll probably be reading. There's nothing I love more than finding a good book, and then sharing it with the world!

Shoutout to Grim for my amazing "Swing Into Spring" box! Ah! Can you believe she sweetly took the time to give me books from her own library AND write a note explaining why she chose each one? I'm still speechless guys. I feel so darn loved.

 

Which, is exactly why I started this swap group in the first place! To spread all the love! Mission accomplished.

Bits and Bobs

*waves sleepily from under a blanket*

 

My motivation seems to have left me lately. Hahaha. All I want to do is stay under this blanket, with a snuggly puppy, and nap. Even reading has been a bit slower lately, because I just can't focus. I suppose that happens every now and then. In an effort to make sure that I don't burn myself out, I'm kind of just going with the flow :). I've been binge watching Legion and Love, and enjoying the chill time.

 

In other news, look who is now 10 months old!

*cries a little*

 

 

This puppy child has just grown so dang fast! When we got her at 8 weeks, she was a tiny little 10 pound squish with a head way too big for her body. Now, at 10 months old, she's an 85 pound behemoth who doesn't know how big she really is. Hahaha. If you ask Luna if she's a lap dog, she'll respond by climbing up into your lap. She definitely thinks all the snuggles are in order, even if she's sitting on your chest and you can't breathe. I love this giant squish.

 

In other, other news, you may remember that my husband had weight loss surgery last summer. I'm happy to report that he's officially down to the smallest he's ever been since high school! He hit the "below 300 lbs" mark last week, and we're celebrating by going to Magic Mountain next month. He's so stoked that he'll be able to fit comfortably on all the roller coasters, and we haven't been since I was 25 so I'm pretty darn excited as well! It's just all around good.

 

This long rambling is to say that I'm here! I'm lurking a lot, and trying to take it easy while reading. I really promised myself that I wouldn't get to the burn out stage this year, and so far it's going well. Feel free to poke me (I'm looking at you Grim, my awesome friend.) because I'm always around. *HUGS*

Shadow Run by Adrianne Strickland and Michael Miller

Shadow Run - AdriAnne Strickland, Michael Miller
I'm not going to lie, I am always so delighted when I find a Science Fiction novel that is accessible and exciting! I had high hopes for Shadow Run, and I wasn't disappointed in the slightest. The Kaitan Heritage is a ship after my own heart. Cobbled together, barely holding on, and full of the most loyal and intriguing set of people there ever was! I remember seeing somewhere that this book was likened to Firefly and Dune. Yes, friends, that is entirely accurate. A little bit of love, a dash of danger, and a whole lot of sarcasm and wit. That's what you'll find between these pages.
 
First off, massive kudos to the authors for crafting as captivating a character as Captain Qole. At just 17 years old, she's the best Shadow fishing captain in the Universe. But that's not where her intrigue ends. Qole is also poisoned by the very thing that both makes up her livelihood, and makes her such an excellent captain. It's a compelling double-edged sword. What I loved most about her character though, was how self-assured and bad-ass she was. Qole doesn't need your admiration. She's strong, loyal, and full of a kind of fierce love that made me fall for her instantly. I love seeing forceful women in positions of power. Qole doesn't disappoint.
 
Better still, Nev's entrance into this story didn't dim Qole's light one bit. In fact, Nev is a beautiful contrast to Qole's dark and resolute personality. See, Nev is ever the optimist. He's both tough as nails and has a heart that is fit to burst with pride for his family. His quick thinking and kindness make him the perfect opposite to Qole, and watching them interact is honestly a lot of fun. I never felt like the tension brewing between them was overbearing and the little romance that may have existed just felt like it belonged. Color me impressed.
 
The absolute only reason I wasn't able to give this a full five-star rating is because the climax felt a little rushed. The first three-quarters of this book are perfectly paced. There is world-building galore, time for our characters to grow and understand one another, plus even the perfect amount of action to keep things fresh. As the book neared the end, I felt like it was rushing to push everything still left undone in order. Which, to be honest, I can totally understand. It makes me happy to know that there's another book coming after this one. I absolutely cannot wait to read it! 
 
You need to meet the ragtag crew of the Kaitan. Plain and simple. If Shadow Run isn't already on  your wishlist, put it there. 

Reading progress update: I've read 55%.

The Invention of Wings: A Novel - Sue Monk Kidd

This book is kicking my all my emotions in the face right now. My annoyance/pity/frustration with Sarah is through the roof, and Handful is breaking my heart into a million and a half pieces. 

The Odds of You and Me by Cecilia Galante

The Odds of You and Me: A Novel - Cecilia Galante

It's a bit unbelievable to me still, how books can sometimes completely blindside you. You'll be going about your daily life, a book will fall into your lap, and suddenly it's the exact story that you need to read at that exact moment. It's like the author knew just who you were, and what was missing, and came along to fill that void. The Odds of You and Me was exactly that. I wasn't expecting this book, it simply showed up for review. I'm honestly so glad that it did. I can't believe I almost missed the opportunity to fall in love with this book.

Bird's story is one of so many layers that it's almost impossible to really touch on them all in this short review. What I can say is that Cecilia Galante isn't afraid to peel back each one of those layers, down to the deepest part of the soul. She allows the reader not even just to crawl into Bird's head, but almost to become her. I felt her pain, her love, her elation, her hate, her confusion, and each bit of it filled in a part of my own soul. I was able to pick her apart, to the point that I was so invested in this story that I sobbed while reading it. My life might not be a mirror to Bird's, lord knows she has it much harder than I do, but just seeing someone else at a place where they still don't feel like they have their footing yet made me whole somehow.

See, Galante doesn't shy away from the parts of life that we all hide from the outside world. Bird has made mistakes, she's grown from them, but she also shows us that there is always growing to do. Her character is one that questions things, examines her feelings, and shuts things away. She's basically any one of us at any given moment. I've never seen such pure emotion laid out on a page, to be honest. As an example, Bird's love for her son Angus is so bright that it's blinding. Yet at the same time she admits that most of the time she struggles to even feel like she mildly knows what she's doing as a parent. Learning, growing, fighting, it's all there in vivid color as Bird simply tries to exist in a world that doesn't always feel hospitable. Nothing here is black and white, everything is up for debate, and I loved that more than I can say.

There are discussions of love here, and the tense relationships that we might have with others. So delicate that they can crack at any moment. There are insights about caring for others, despite their past decisions, and possibly stepping over the boundaries set by society to do good for someone else. As I mentioned above, there is even a discussion on being a parent and feeling like you're constantly floundering. Bird's raw commentary on raising her son, as a single mother, and feeling utterly helpless at times will speak to a lot of readers out there. Or, if you're like me, her battle with religion as an upbringing versus religion as an adult will hit home too. Like I said, there's so much wrapped up here that I can't touch on it all fairly. It simply exists together, in this beautiful web of a story, that will catch you up and likely evoke feelings that you weren't even expecting.

To sum it all up, The Odds of You and Me is absolutely beautiful. It's a raw, emotional, story that isn't afraid to dig deep into the emotions of a woman who is simply trying to navigate life. I recommend you have a box of tissues handy for this book. I really do.

Beautiful Broken Girls by Kim Savage

Beautiful Broken Girls - Kim  Savage

So, first off, kudos to the designer of this cover because it's a thing of beauty. My heart belonged to this book before I even gazed eyes upon the synopsis. Still, it was ultimately the synopsis that did me in. I love stories that hint at a mystery beyond death. The idea of someone leaving you notes to discover the reason behind their demise has always fascinated me and, quite honestly, is one of the YA concepts that I'll read no matter what. It's not hard to imagine that I was pretty excited to dive in to Beautiful Broken Girls. I only hoped that it would live up to the hype that my brain was already generating for it.

Which is where we come to the difficult part, and that's the fact that I'm still not sure entirely how I feel about this book. I'm a bit on the fence because, well, this story confused me more than I'd like to admit. Beautiful Broken Girls starts out fairly strong. We're introduced to Ben as he's mourning the loss of Mira who, as we slowly uncover, was a much bigger part of his life than he'd like to admit. I liked Ben. He was a little broken, a little angry, but full of the kind of resolve that only exists when you truly cared about someone. His quest to find out what happened to Mira was harsh at the best of times, but he soldiered on despite all of that.

Ben's relationships with the other characters in this story, specifically his family and his group of guy friends, were also pretty well laid out. I understood his frustration that people kept trying to put him in a bubble because of his past trauma. I felt for him that he couldn't express his feelings, because it looked to the outside world that he was overreacting. While I wasn't a huge fan of the majority of the other boys in this story, I liked that they weren't caricatures of what someone believes boys would be. They were raw, and honest, and sometimes kind of obnoxious. Just like real life.

The disconnect for me, came when Mira and Francesca's story began to unfold. I'm not entirely sure what I was expecting the reasoning behind their suicide to be, but the choppy and vague story that was laid out for me left me feeling a bit frustrated. I don't want to give anything away, for readers out there who are interested in this book, but I can confidently say that I wanted much more backstory. It drives me mad when characters are given a special trait, or an interesting existence, and there is absolutely no explanation as to where it stemmed from. Since I had no insight into Francesca's past, she simply felt shallow and spoiled to me. I had no empathy for her whatsoever. Which meant, unfortunately, that since Mira kept playing into her delusions I kind of began to hate her as well.

As it stands, Ben ended up being the best part of this story. The ending was okay, although not quite what I was hoping for. I just really feel like the middle of this book needed much more explanation and much less of Ben's flashbacks. It was tough for me to build a relationship with any of the other characters, and it ended up hurting my connection with book. Did I mention that my feelings are all over the place? I can definitely offer this book a three star rating, and say that there's much of it that is going to interest other readers out there. If you're looking for a book that blends mystery with some darker emotions, you'll want to pick this up. 

 

If you have an Instagram account, I'm hosting a giveaway!

 

One winner gets (if U.S. address)

 

* A choice of bath scub

* A choice of candle

* A pre-order for Strange the Dreamer

 

(or, if International address that BD ships to)

* A pre-order for Strange the Dreamer!

 

Enter here.

 

Ends 3/17 :). I can't wait to see who wins!

Reading progress update: I've read 135 out of 384 pages.

The Odds of You and Me: A Novel - Cecilia Galante

This book is just so.... raw. I already knew that Cecilia Galante excelled at allowing people to crawl into the heads of her characters, but being in Bird's head is so tough. Which is how I feel it would probably be if anyone crawled into mine. Her love for her son, her guilt over her past, her relationship with her mother, her deep need to break away and be her own person... it's just all so much. Galante just dropped a major bomb, regarding how Angus (Bird's son) came about, and I'm speechless.

 

I don't know how the hell I'm going to review this book when I'm done.

Swing Into Spring Swap!

 

It's here! The next swap is here!

 

If you've been eyeing our group, waiting to participate, now is the time! We're celebrating all things Spring in this book box swap, and I'm really excited about it!

 

(If you couldn't already tell by all the exclamation points.)

 

More info here.

Let's Play A Game!

 

I saw this on Instagram, and had a ton of fun reading people's responses! No cheating! It has to be the book that is closest to you :).

Secrets of a Reluctant Princess by Casey Griffin

Secrets of a Reluctant Princess - Casey Griffin

Be still, my heart! Friends, I'm about to shamelessly gush about this book. Consider yourself warned. I mean, I admit that it did take me a few chapters to warm up to Andy but once I did? Well, you couldn't have pried me away from this book if you tried. It has everything I love. Great characters, realistic life lessons, sweet romance, and LARPing. Yes, LARPing. My nerdy heart is so happy right now.

Andy, or Adrianna as her mother prefers she goes by, is the type of character that I wish we saw more of in YA literature. Used to being bullied and mocked, she uses her fresh start in her "new life" to remake herself into someone who avoids all that. The problem is, that she soon learns that it's difficult be someone you're not. Even more than that, she learns that sometimes fitting in means being the bully. If more teens learned that lesson early on, well, high school might not be such a difficult space to exist in.

My absolute favorite part of this story though was that it was a love letter to nerdom. Griffin points out the deep divide that exists between the popular crowd, and the "nerds". However she goes beyond that by showing that it's perfectly acceptable to love what you love. Comics, drawing, cosplay, it's all in here. I was instantly able to tell that Griffin did her research, and I adored the spotlight that she gave to this group that is often ignored.

Then there were the characters. Most importantly, or maybe I have a minor crush myself, is Kevin. Kevin is sweet. He's kind, honest, and he loves LARPing. It takes his character, unafraid to be himself, to teach Andy who she really wants to be. The awkward, often tear-jerking relationship between these two was the icing on the cake really. I would have loved them even if they were just friends.

Secrets of a Reluctant Princess has it all. Family loyalty, forever friendships, high school drama, and enough giggle worthy moments to make the tear-jerking moments totally worthwhile. I loved this book! I genuinely hope you'll add it to your TBR, because it's well worth you time.

Reading progress update: I've read 10%.

Norse Mythology - Neil Gaiman

Can I please hire Neil Gaiman to just read everything to me? Good LORD this man has a voice that just melts me. The audiobook opened, he started reading, and I was rapt. I mean, the first chapter is basically his introduction to the book, and I was INVOLVED.

 

What me? Have a crush on Neil Gaiman?

 

You're damn right I do.

 

Pardon me while I go revel in his voice some more.

The Impossible Fortress by Jason Rekulak

The Impossible Fortress - Jason Rekulak

Look, I'll be completely honest with you straight off the bat. I went into this book not sure if I was going to make it the whole way through. Billy, Alf and Clark started out as this misfit group of boys that, despite the fact that I'm sure teenage boys actually do act exactly as they did, drove me to the brink of madness. I honestly wasn't certain I was going to be able to follow them through the entirety of the story.

 

Then, something magical happened. Video games came into play! 80's nostalgia blossomed, and suddenly Billy was more than just a typical teenage boy to me. He was a video game obsessed, extremely talented, passionate young man. He was a character who wasn't afraid to put his heart, soul, and ample amounts of his time into doing something that he really loved. After that, I felt so much more connected to this story. I wanted Billy to succeed, and I so hoped he'd learn how amazing he really was.

 

Things picked up from there. Mary was introduced, and I instantly fell in love with her character. I adored that she was intelligent, unafraid to show her passion for coding, and full of the kind of wit that I can only wish for. She screamed "future girl boss" to me, and I ate it up. Her banter with Billy was perfection, her no nonsense look at the world was intoxicating, and I was hooked. If this book had simply revolved around Mary, I would have been smitten from the beginning. As it stands though, Mary was the part of this story that made Billy whole. Their little romance, even the rough parts of it, gave me life.

 

Jason Rekulak showed me that I really shouldn't give up on characters after the first few pages. Billy, Alf, and Clark turned into boys that I actually fell head over heels for. I didn't always agree with their thoughts, or their actions, but it didn't change the fact that they were realistically flawed human beings. They were just teenage boys, obsessed with Vanna White, intent on getting girls, and learning to navigate this crazy world we all live in. We'd all love to pretend that our teenage years weren't peppered with bad decisions, and mistakes. That's just life though, and Rekulak shows that in a way that is equal parts funny and honest. 

Ms. Allergy Pants

So, I'm currently sitting on my couch and working from home because I woke up this morning to a puppy child covered in hives. I mean COVERED. She was itchy, and I had to cover her with a sweater to keep her from scratching them to bleeding. A vet visit was arranged, she was given Benadryl and Prednisone, and now I'm on puppy child watch until this evening. Which, to be honest, is pretty easy since she's passed out on the couch. Poor little girl.

 

Apparently bulldogs are quite prone to allergies, specifically during the wetter months. So this might be the first of many times we have to put up with this. My wallet weeps. LOL.

 

Bright side, we caught it before she had any worse side effects. The vet said some dogs get all the way to the point where their throats or nasal passages swell and they can't breathe. So I'm glad we're good puppy parents and pay attention to her health.

 

I'm just REALLY glad I'm allowed to work from home. *sigh*

DNF @ 25%

Kaijumax Vol. 1 - Zander Cannon, Zander Cannon

So, I gave this a fair shake! One of my best reader buddies was totally in love with this series, and then it popped up on Comixology Unlimited. Free, and loved by someone that I adore? Sold. 

 

Alas, despite the fact that the art is pretty cute, this just wasn't for me. Maybe I'm just not that into Kaiju. Maybe it drove me slightly mad because of the way they talk. Maybe this was actually a lot more violent than I thought it would be... but yeah. Not in love.

 

DNF, and onto the next comic!

Reading progress update: I've read 50%.

Forging Divinity (The War of Broken Mirrors) - Andrew Rowe, Jessica Richards

This book is....

 

slow

slow

slow

 

The characters aren't bad. The story isn't honestly all that bad either! It's just slow, and that's a shame. I'm listening to the audio and my brain keeps wandering to other things.