Friday, September 30, 2016

Fairytales & Dreams: The Beginning Woods by Malcolm McNeill // Book Review

The Beginning Woods
by Malcolm McNeill
Publication Date: September 1, 2016
Publisher: Pushkin Press
Source: NetGalley
Buy It: Amazon UK / Book Depository

The Vanishings started without warning. People disappearing into thin air - just piles of clothes left behind. Each day, thousands gone without a trace.
Max was abandoned in a bookshop and grows up haunted by memories of his parents. Only he can solve the mystery of the Vanishings.
To find the answers, Max must leave this world and enter the Beginning Woods. A realm of magic and terror, life and death. But can he bear the truth - or will it destroy him?
Greater than your dreams. Darker than your fears. Full of more wonder than you could ever desire. Welcome to the ineffable Beginning Woods...

Reasons Why You Should Read The Beginning Woods:

+ Perfect for readers who love magical places, fairytales, mystery and tales of children looking for their lost parents. 

+ The ambiance of the Woods and the areas in London is well crafted. You will feel the curiosity and panic Max feels when he crosses over from London to the Woods and what he experiences once there. 

+ Great characters- all are intriguing, including the wind giants and evil witches.

+ The world-building is well developed : a world with it's own creation story, massive dragons, fairies, witches, ghosts (who preferred to be called "cold people"), wizards, and more.

+ McNeill's writing is wonderful and at times satirical. The my favorite part was in the beginning of the book when the Vanishings started happening and McNeill humorously wrote about how everyone waited for the scientists to figure it out.


I think everyone should give this book a try. The pace is a little slow, but it is rich with atmosphere, characters, world-building, and is well written.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Top 5 Wednesday // Characters I WOULDN'T Want to Trade Places With

Top 5 Wednesday

Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins). There aren't many dystopian protagonists I would trade places with. I would rather just eat pizza while reading about someone else trying to survive the Hunger Games and civil war in which many of their loved ones die.

Ree Dolly (Winter's Bone by Daniel Woodrell). I like having central heating during wintertime and not having to shoot squirrels for lunch. In Ree's world you need to be tough and take a beating without tears.

Draco Malfoy (Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling). Draco was put in a horrible position in the sixth book, not to mention the amount of pressure he may have gotten from his parents to be a skilled wizard. Not all the lives are amazing of those who have wealth.

Pavla (Little Nothing by Marisa Silver). One misfortune after another with an ending that left me a little miffed.

Amy Curry (Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson). It was a good book, but honestly I wouldn't want to trade places with a teenager who is grieving over the death of her father and having to move her whole life across the continental United States.


Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday // College Majors/Professions Books Inspired Me To Choose

Okay, so I've had only, like, 3 or 4 actual majors or career paths, but there were other paths I thought about as well. For most of my life I wanted to be a marine biologist and conservationist. That fell through and once at university I decided on Forensic Science, but then halfway through university I narrowed my interests to Forensic Anthropologist by adding Anthropology as my major. After I got my BA I got accepted to a masters program and I applied my forensic anthropology skills to classical archaeology with the hopes of working in a museum to help with the preservation and study human remains. Now I am currently a housewife/blogger. Not that I needed to tell you all of this, but some of the books below are non-fiction that might come as a surprise to some people. I feel like there have been a couple books that helped shape who I am and what is important to me. There are also the books that highlighted other professions that I would enjoy, but will never get around to. Here are the books that influenced or enlighten these choices and other career ideas:









This fun, weekly meme was started by The Broke and the Bookish. There they have scheduled all the Tuesdays and provided a list of old topics. The perfect meme for bookish list-makers. 
Link me your Top Ten Tuesday for today!
Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Ultimate Favorite Books By Genre











This fun, weekly meme was started by The Broke and the Bookish. There they have scheduled all the Tuesdays and provided a list of old topics. The perfect meme for bookish list-makers. 
Link me your Top Ten Tuesday for today!
Friday, September 9, 2016

Modern Folktale: Little Nothing by Marisa Silver // Book Review

Little Nothing
by Marisa Silver
Publication Date: September 13, 2016
Publisher: Blue Rider Press
Source: eARC Penguin's First To Read
Buy It: Amazon US / Book Depository

A stunning, provocative new novel from New York Times bestselling author Marisa Silver, Little Nothing is the story of Pavla, a child scorned for her physical deformity, whose passion and salvation lie in her otherworldly ability to transform herself and the world around her.
In an unnamed country at the beginning of the last century, a child called Pavla is born to peasant parents. Her arrival, fervently anticipated and conceived in part by gypsy tonics and archaic prescriptions, stuns her parents and brings outrage and disgust from her community. Pavla has been born a dwarf, beautiful in face, but as the years pass, she grows no further than the edge of her crib. When her parents turn to the treatments of a local doctor and freak sideshow proprietor, his terrifying cure opens the floodgates persecution for Pavla. Little Nothing unfolds across a lifetime of unimaginable, magical transformation in and out of human form, as this outcast woman is hunted down and incarcerated for her desires, her body broken and her identity stripped away until her soul is strong enough to transcend all physical bounds. Woven throughout is the journey of Danilo, the young man entranced by Pavla, obsessed only with protecting her. Part allegory about the shifting nature of being, part subversive fairy tale of love in all its uncanny guises, Little Nothing spans the beginning of a new century, the disintegration of ancient superstitions and the adoption of industry and invention. With a cast of remarkable characters, a wholly shocking and original story, and extraordinary, page-turning prose, Silver delivers a novel of sheer electricity.

My Thoughts

This might be, in my opinion, the forerunner adult novel of magical realism for 2016. Unfortunately, the synopsis for the book pretty much tells you almost all that happens. I like going into a book without knowing everything. I think that is what I liked most about this book is getting caught up in Pavla and Danilo's lives, wondering what will happen next to them. Little Nothng follows the life of Pavla and the boy who loves her Danilo. I don't want to delve too much into the characters because the novel is driven so much from their decisions and unfortunate events. So much happens to the characters and they transition to different versions of themselves in the novel that 350 pages reads like half of that. Not to mention there are a lot of blank pages for chapter breaks and drawings for different parts of the novel. Not that this is important - however, the illustrations to mark the different parts go with the dark and old folktale theme. That probably means nothing to you unless you see it yourself. The novel itself seems like an old folktale, like the ones it refers throughout the story - bizarre and magical. While Pavla's story arc was what the novel centered around it was Danilo's story that kept driving the novel. There is more to the story itself and the symbolism that will leave you thinking about it after you read it. Transcendence is a theme in the story - the love Danilo has for Pavla is continual. Pavla herself changes the most and with her physical transformation her mind does as well. Little Nothing also exemplifies that through pain and suffering one is able to transform to a better person than they were before. It helps shape what/who you become and adapt to the negative pressing circumstances that one finds themselves in.

The changes and timeline are choppy at moments that left me confused a bit. That might just be my desire for events to have an explanation so you should just go with the story as it is unfolded. After awhile I did that and I enjoyed the book more. I was eager to see what would happen to the characters. Marisa Silver is a great writer - she paints beautiful descriptions, didn't have to say plainly what happened or characters felt, but wrote well enough that you still understood, kept the story fluid and evolving to intrigue the reader. She is a good storyteller. The ending, to me, seemed to just end without the closure I wanted. This book is one I know my mind will wander to once in awhile which to me is the sign of a good book. The story of Pavla and Danilo will move you in some way. 

I can't decide whether to give it 3 or 4 stars. I'm not completely in love with the story, but it kept me on the edge of my seat and wanting more. It's so original. I got lost in the magical, but brutal characters and events. I think a lot of people who love magical realism will love this book. Marisa Silver wrote and mapped out Pavla and Danilo's lives beautifully. In folktales it seems that nothing is ever completely a 'happily ever after'. There is always some pain, transformation, and a new beginning of some sort. 

SPOILER? : Also, I think the unnamed country is most likely Czechoslovakia. Though I think it adds to the mystery and magic for it to be unnamed. It makes it a little more whimsical to not put a name on the location. Every time I would read a name or something historical or architectural I couldn't help but wonder where the story took place. I had to find out!


Thank you to the First To Read program by Penguin for allowing me to review Little Nothing!
Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Top 5 Wednesday // Book Characters I'd Be Happy To Call Family

Top 5 Wednesday

   This week's Top 5 Wednesday is to list Characters You'd Want as Family -- You can say this in a broad way or be specific (i.e. _______ would be a cool aunt, ______would be a great older brother, etc.) There are probably more I'd add to this list, but these are the characters that come to mind first. 


Mark Watney (The Martian by Andy Weir) - I think Mark would be a great funny and upbeat dad or uncle. He'd know how to make you smile while also being intelligent and give good advise - like how to grow potatoes or survive on your own on Mars.

Kate Daniels (Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews) - As shown in the series, Kate would be an awesome protector, aunt, godmother, or older sister. She's funny and badass so you want her to have your back.

Shade (Red Queen Series by Victoria Aveyard) - As shown in his scenes with Mare he is a good brother.

Sirius Black (Harry Potter Series) - There's something about his personality that I like, aside from constantly thinking Harry is his dead father and needing to be in the middle of the action. He's a good godfather and could be a good father.... or husband, whatever *blushes*.

Etienne St. Clair (Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins) - Etienne's personality is so adorable! How he interacted with Lola in Lola and the Boy Next Door made him seem like he'd be a great older brother. He's funny, caring, and gives good advice. He knows how to lovingly tease people too.



Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: TV Shows I Will Watch This Fall

   Here are 10 Shows I am going to continue watching or start watching this fall. We don't watch TV all that often in our household, but we do watch quite a bit of Netflix. We'll see if Netflix uploads more seasons of shows I like: The Walking Dead mainly. We end up watching more Netflix than regular TV because by the time we settle down to eat dinner it is usually pretty late in the evening. Any time from 7:30 to 9 PM we are actually getting ready to eat. Only TBBT and Modern Family are kept up to date and the rest is on Netflix. What will you be watching this fall? By the way, I thought Netflix was supposed to be uploading a lot more movies? The movies they keep adding are the ones constantly shown during the day on channels like USA. Lame. They also seem to be more interested in making their own shows and movies and promoting them above everything else. Mind you they have put out some great shows. Also, I remember when movies from RedBox was an actual dollar. This can easily become a rant so I'll stop, lol.

My guilty/not-so-guilty pleasures:
The Originals - I'm finishing Season 2 now. 
Reign - I need to watch Season 2. I watched the first one when it was airing, but I've been into teen shows lately and the wardrobe is stunning.
Sleepy Hollow - I need to watch Season 2 as well. 
Pretty Little Liars (Though my husband watched some of last season with me) - I'm on Season 5 as well. I watch it mostly for the fashion and nostalgia for my teen years. Though Troian is close to my age. All these women are so gorgeous!
Gilmore Girls - I have been feeling a need to rewatch it. I might skip a cuple seasons that I wasn't a fan of.
Bojack Horseman - The latest season was just released. 

With the Hubs:
The Big Bang Theory - I was wanting to discontinue watching this show, but this last season was better than the 3 prior to it. I don't know how long they intend for this show to last. My husband loves it.
Modern Family - We both love this show.
IZombie - We just got finished with Season 3 of Arrow on Netflix and we need something to watch together. My husband actually seemed interested in this!
Stranger Things - I've heard great things about this show and I want us to watch it together this fall. 


This fun, weekly meme was started by The Broke and the Bookish. There they have scheduled all the Tuesdays and provided a list of old topics. The perfect meme for bookish list-makers. 
Link me your Top Ten Tuesday for today!
Thursday, September 1, 2016

What I've Been Up To // ARC August 2016 Wrap-Up

My August

   So I didn't read as much as I would have hoped in August. I may have gotten a little burnt out from June and July. I only completed 2 ARCs and I am currently reading 2 other ARCs. So we'll just leave it at that, lol.
   I turned 29 this past month as well. I went out to breakfast and walked around downtown with the husband and later that night he took me out to dinner. My husband got me an Alpina typewriter from 1957. I love it. Also with my birthday money I got a Mr. Magic Bullet Blender set - I have been making smoothies lie crazy every day since! I also got some books I will feature in my next Stacking the Shelves post. It includes more pretty books! I am so excited to read them! I am still currently waiting for my Goldsboro edition of Nevernight by Jay Kristoff to come in the mail. I also went by the charity shop. I have 4 books to donate there next time I stop by. I also signed up for the #COUNTDOWNTILGG Readathon/Bingo hosted by He Said Books Or Me. If you are interested you can sign up on her post still. I will be doing a separate wrap-up for that monthly.

Finished Books

ARCs Currently Reading

Top 4 Most Popular Posts

I planned my Autumn TBR for the months of September through November!
I made a lost of twenty books set in a boarding school I want to read. 
I posted my 2nd Mini Review Friday with nonfiction written by women. 
I did the New York Times By The Book Tag. You should do it too!

Summer Blogger Promo Tour Posts