31 January 2018

Tentative February TBR

Happy Monday everyone! I can't believe that we've already made it to another day that brings us closer to February. As I have said time and time again, this year is definitely going to fly by. I can't wait to see all that is in store. So with February closely approaching, I wanted to share my February TBR which is going to be extremely tentative. I like to read a lot of books with African-American authors and I usually participate in #readsoullit. However, with school being in session I have to keep in mind that I'll be doing readings related to class. This ultimately means that my TBR won't be as stacked as it usually is during other months. Let's go ahead and jump into a few of the books I plan to read and finish up in the month of February.

A Long Way Gone (Goodreads): I've been meaning to read this book for a while. It not only fulfills my goals to continue to read books associated with foreign authors, but it also fulfills my goal to focus on reading more non-fiction. I've heard about the children soldiers in Sierra Leone; however, it will be amazing to get a first hand account of the experience of a child that was actually forced to fight in the civil war. Calling My Name (Goodreads): I keep putting this book off; however, I think this is the perfect time for meed to read it this month. I have not heard much about it, but it appears to be a coming of age story and it really sounds interesting. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (Goodreads): This is a classic that I need to read this year not only because I've set a goal to read at least 12 classics this year, but also because I think that it is an important book.

Drama High: The Fight (Goodreads): This was a book I wanted to get to in January as well, but I didn't get the chance to read it so I think that it will be priority. The Underground Railroad (Goodreads): This is a book that I've heard so much about, but have yet to read. I'm really excited to get to it this month. I've heard that it takes the Underground Railroad and provides the reader with so much more. 

So the major question is probably what am I currently reading?? As always it's a few things haha! I won't talk about them too much here, but I will have the covers posted below. 

What do you plan on reading this month? 

25 January 2018

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Series: The Grishaverse #1
# of Pages: 358
Publication: June 5th, 2012
Source: Personal Copy
Genre: Fantasy
Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee. Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling. Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.

This book! I’m at a loss for words about the level of awesomeness that I found on every single page of this book. It had been on my TBR for a while; however, it took me until the end of this year to get through it. It was AMAZING! The characters, the plot, everything just flowed perfectly. I thought there would be elements of the book that I did not enjoy; however, everything just worked out perfectly.

Alina Starkov is a great lead character. She has flaws and she makes a great amount of mistakes; however, in making these mistakes she tries her hardest to make sure they are fixed or rectified. I admired how strong she was in every situation that she encountered. I could not imagine being ripped from my only home and the only person I have loved and then being forced to adapt to a completely new environment. I enjoyed being immersed in her thoughts. A character that threw me off was definitely the Darkling. I won’t go into all the details affiliated with his character; however, I will say that I completely enjoyed him in the beginning and hated him by the time I got to the end of the book. He’s a disgusting Grisha. If you’ve read the book then you know exactly what I’m talking about. Mal; however, was a dream. My heart throbbed for him and I can’t wait to see his role in future books.

Another interesting aspect of this book was definitely the magic system associated with the Grisha. I found their capabilities to be interesting, but troubling. It took me a while to understand and realize that their powers essentially threw them into a caste system where characters like Genya were looked down upon. I want to know more about this system and how all of the Grisha work together. It took me a while to keep up with the names of all the different types of Grisha, but now that I have the hang of it I want more. And Bardugo’s writing was perfect. I’ve read some things that she has written in anthologies and I have always thought that her writing was beautiful. This book is no exception.

If you’ve never heard of this series then I definitely recommend you checking it out. It was fast-paced and so fun and entertaining. I can’t wait to dive in the next book in the series.

24 January 2018

Can't Wait Wednesday #26, White Privilege: The Myth of a Post-Racial Society by Kalwant Bhopal

Can't Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Tressa over at Wishful Endings She has taken on a similar meme to Jills Waiting on Wednesday over at Breaking the Spine. Since Jill hasn't posted in a while I'm going to join in on this meme. To participate all you have to do is spotlight upcoming publications you're eagerly anticipating. Keep reading to see what I have chosen for this week.

Series: N/A
# of Pages: 176
Publication: February 15, 2018
Goodreads | Amazon

One of the major features of politics in the past few years has been a renewed attention to race as a driving factor in both politics and everyday life. How, after decades of civil rights activism, do people from black and minority ethnic communities continue to be marginalized? In White Privilege, Kalwant Bhopal draws on social science research and political and economic analysis to show how people from black and minority backgrounds are continually positioned as outsiders in public discourse and interpersonal interaction. Neoliberal policies only increase that tendency, as their effects exacerbate long-standing patterns of minority disadvantage. Bhopal’s book is rooted in dispassionate analysis, but its message is unmistakable—the structural advantages of whiteness are widespread, and dismantling them will require both honesty about their power and determination to change them.

Okay so this book is extremely important. I know that the conversation about privilege has been frequent and I'm interested in figuring out how this book will handle the topic. It's a short book so I expect to get through it quickly. I'm not sure how I found it, but I'm excited for it.

What are you waiting for this Wednesday?

23 January 2018

Recommendations: LGBTQIA+ Picture Book Recommendations

Happy Tuesday everyone! So I wanted to do more recommendations on this blog. I read so much for my job, school, and pleasure that I'm always full of recommendations so why wouldn't share them. This week my recommendations will be focused on picture books specifically LGBTQIA+ picture books. There are a lot out there, but I'm just going to start with three. If you have any recommendations of your own leave them in the comment section below. Keep reading to find out about some awesome picture books!

Series: N/A
# of Pages: 32
Publication: November 4th, 2008
Source: Library Copy
Genre: LGBTQIA+ Picture Book
Gooreads | Amazon 

Every night, Bailey dreams about magical dresses: dresses made of crystals and rainbows, dresses made of flowers, dresses made of windows…Unfortunately, when Bailey’s awake, no one wants to hear about these beautiful dreams. Quite the contrary: “You’re a BOY!” Mother and Father tell Bailey. “You shouldn’t be thinking about dresses at all.” Then Bailey meets Laurel, an older girl who is touched and inspired by Bailey’s imagination and courage. In friendship, the two of them begin making dresses together. And Bailey becomes the girl she always dreamed she’d be! This gorgeous picture book—a modern fairy tale about becoming the person you feel you are inside—will delight people of all ages

Why I RecommendThis book needs to be on every book shelf in every library. I haven't come across many children's books that address what it is like to be transgender, but this definitely is a good place to start. I full enjoyed the storyline as well as the illustrations. It was so hard for the main character (born as a male, but identifies as a female) to feel comfortable in his skin around his own family members and I think that that can be true in a lot of situations. It was just written in such a simple way that any child who needs an introduction to transgender aspect of lgbtqia should definitely be given the opportunity to read this book. 

Series: N/A
# of Pages: 48
Publication: April 30th, 2009
Source: Library Copy
Genre: LGBTQIA+ Picture Book
Goodreads | Amazon

Marmee, Meema, and the kids are just like any other family on the block. In their beautiful house, they cook dinner together, they laugh together, and they dance together. But some of the other families don't accept them. They say they are different. How can a family have two moms and no dad? But Marmee and Meema's house is full of love. And they teach their children that different doesn't mean wrong. And no matter how many moms or dads they have, they are everything a family is meant to be. Here is a true Polacco story of a family, living by their own rules, and the strength they gain by the love they feel.

Why I Recommend: Prior to reading this book I read a Patricia Polacco book that I couldn't get into. I actually really didn't like it. But this book was AMAZING. I loved that it featured two moms with three very diverse children. It was the perfect image of a family. I wasn't a fan of the artwork, but let me tell you the story was beautiful. I actually teared up at the end. If you're looking for a picture book that focuses on a family with two mommies I would definitely recommend this one. It also has a great focus on teaching kids that being different is okay.

Series: N/A
# of Pages: 32
Publication: March 24th, 2015
Source: Library Copy
Genre: Animal/LGBT Picture Book
Goodreads | Amazon
No matter your size, shape, or pedigree--if you love each other, you are a family! Moms, dads, sisters, brothers — and even Great Aunt Sue — appear in dozens of combinations, demonstrating all kinds of nontraditional families! Silly animals are cleverly depicted in framed portraits, and offer a warm celebration of family love.

Why I Recommend:This was great! I loved the exploration of all the families. The art work was amazing. It was a combination of photographs as the background and then illustrated characters in the foreground. The concept really made reading it all the more entertaining. What I loved most was the sense of humor in the book. You have to play close attention to all the characters and their facial expressions to understand! Just simply spectacular is all I can say. It was just a great way to look at all the way people can be families and it doesn't matter what it looks like as long as everyone loves each other.

22 January 2018

Fables Deluxe Edition Vol. 1 by Bill Willingham

Series: Fables
# of Pages: 264
Publication: October 6th, 2009
Source: Library Copy
Genre: Comics
Goodreads | Amazon 

When a savage creature known only as the Adversary conquered the fabled lands of legends and fairy tales, all of the infamous inhabitants of folklore were forced into exile. Disguised among the normal citizens of modern-day New York, these magical characters created their own secret society-within an exclusive luxury apartment building on Manhattan's Upper West Side-called Fabletown. But when Snow White's party-girl sister, Rose Red, is apparently murdered, it is up to Bigby, Fabletown's sheriff, and a reformed and pardoned Big Bad Wolf, to determine if the culprit is Bluebeard, Rose's ex-lover and notorious wife killer, or Jack, her current live-in boyfriend and former beanstalk-climber.

If you know anything about me then you should know that I love comics; however, if  you know me super well then you would know that one of my favorite comic books series of all time is Fables by Bill Willingham. It is truly amazing and I'm currently in the process of re-reading the series so I can finally finish with all of the spin-offs and volumes in the main story arc. 

Fables is a re-imagining of various fairy tale characters that have been banished to Upper West Side Manhattan to a town called Fabletown. Most of the first volume is focused on the introduction of various fable characters and Bigby (the big bad wolf) investigating the death of Snow White's sister Rose Red. What is most appealing about this book is that it creates a sense of nostalgia . Readers are re-introduced to their favorite fairy tale characters in a new and interesting way. They no longer are a part of their world, but they are a part of ours living as refugees barely escaping from an all evil power known as the Emperor. Readers are privy to all the information related to the characters and how they differ from our typical perception and ideas of who and what they were in stories. For example, in most fairy tales Prince Charming is regarded as kind and the man who frequently saves the day; however, in Fables he's arrogant and uses women for his advantage. By the time we read about him in the first deluxe volume we find that he has been engaged or involved with at least four of the "traditional princesses" including Rose Red, Snow White, Beauty, and Cinderella. 

The artwork in the book is beautiful and simplistic, while the plot is interesting to read and engross yourself in. When I originally read the first few volumes a few years ago I was instantly hooked and have not been able to put them down since. If you haven't had the opportunity to pick up one of these volumes please do as soon as possible. I think you'll enjoy it completely. 

21 January 2018

Sunday Post #15

Happy Sunday fellow bloggers and readers. I am back with another Sunday post hosted by the lovely caffeinated book reviewer

Okay let's start with my week in a complete recap. This week has been amazing! I've enjoyed every single day. Graduate school is back in swing so I need to make sure I have things planned out nicely that way I can keep up with schoolwork and this blog and my Youtube channel. I feel like I started a lot of books this week, but I haven't finished much haha such is life! Here's to claiming that this upcoming week will be just as good as this past week. 

Before The Devils Breaks You (5 Stars): Oh my goodness! Why didn't anybody tell me that this book was going to be so freaking amazing! And heartbreaking! It was fantastic. I listened to the entire book on audio and if you haven't read these books this way it's a must! I can't say too much about it because it's the 3rd book; however, you need to start this series now! Rat Queens Vol. 1 (3 Stars): Okay this is an unpopular opinion, but this comic didn't really do it for me. I was expecting more, but unfortunately I wasn't enthusiastic about it. It may take a while, but I am willing to read the next volume to see if it'll get better to me. 

  • Fables Deluxe Vol. 1 Review 
  • Picture Books Recommendation
  • Can't Wait Wednesday
  • Shadow & Bone Book Review 
  • Friday #56 
  • Completed Series - Lifetime

How was your week? 

20 January 2018

BookishRealm Review & Film #4

Happy Saturday everyone! While everyone is enjoying their weekend I'll be at work :( haha, but this week is going to be a little different as I've been watching more movies than TV shows. Enjoy!

Flatliners wasn't one that I was expecting to necessarily enjoy. The trailer was amazing; however, I expected the premise to fall quite flat so when it did I wasn't that surprised. The idea behind the movie was interesting and they really incorporated some great actors and actresses; however, I wouldn't necessarily define it as a much watch. In fact, I waited until my library acquired a copy before I watched it. The plot follows five medical students as they attempt to discover more about the afterlife by shocking themselves into heart-failure then wait about a minute to two minutes until they are revived. Unfortunately, each of the students has encounters with entities as a result of their experiment. The movie was okay and had some interesting aspects so if you have a cheap way of watching the film then attempt to give it a try. It. Okay so technically I have now seen this movie three or four times since it's release. It's so gooooddddd. If you haven't seen it please give it a try. I know most people are turned off because it centers around a clown, but the movie is so much more. Please just give it a try.

Romeo + Juliet. If you didn't know this is one of my favorite Shakespeare plays and when I was in 7th grade I had to watch this movie adaptation in order to understand it better. Ever since that day I've been in love with the movie and have seen it a countless amount of times. I just decided to give it a re-watch this week. I know a lot of people don't like this version because of the director, but I think it's a great modern take on the play and a lot of younger individuals would better be able to understand the play through this adaptation. Unstoppable. Okay, so I was introduced to this movie for the first time this week and while I would have never picked it up myself I thought it was actually really good. It's an older film that focuses on Denzel Washington and Chris Payne working together to stop a speeding train from crashing after it is accidentally set free from the station. This movie was fast paced and fun and I couldn't help but root for our main characters.


9-1-1. This show is freaking awesome. If you've never heard of it check it out! It focuses on the daily ins and outs of a group of fireman and a dispatcher. The TV show is only three episodes in so I can't really give out too much information and that definitely means that you have time to join in and begin watching it. Runaways. I've read some of the comic by Brian K.Vaughan and absolutely loved it so I was extremely excited to see that it was becoming TV show. I'm only one episode in so I can't give you too many details except that it focuses on six teens who find out that their parents are not what they expected them to be. I'm really excited to watch and enjoy the rest of this series.

What have you watched this week?

18 January 2018

Non-Fiction Review: This Land is Our Land by Linda Barrett Osborne

Series: N/A
# of Pages: 128
Publication: April 12, 2016
Source: Library E-Book
Genre: Non-Fiction
Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

American attitudes toward immigrants are paradoxical. On the one hand, we see our country as a haven for the poor and oppressed; anyone, no matter his or her background, can find freedom here and achieve the “American Dream.” On the other hand, depending on prevailing economic conditions, fluctuating feelings about race and ethnicity, and fear of foreign political and labor agitation, we set boundaries and restrictions on who may come to this country and whether they may stay as citizens. This book explores the way government policy and popular responses to immigrant groups evolved throughout U.S. history, particularly between 1800 and 1965. The book concludes with a summary of events up to contemporary times, as immigration again becomes a hot-button issue. Includes an author’s note, bibliography, and index.

I don't know how to really feel about this book. It's important because it addresses immigration which is such an important aspect of our history especially now. I think the information was thought provoking and it enlightened me on various aspects of immigration that I wasn't familiar with. For example I knew that there were exclusions to certain groups in terms of immigration but I had no knowledge of the quotas that were set that kept out immigrants of certain ethnicities and socioeconomic status' out. It never fails to amaze me that a place that is supposed to be the melting pot of the world could be so dark and grim towards people that are different. It's so sad to read about the millions of people who are just trying to make a better life for themselves but are faced with discrimination because they are different or have different cultural practices. It's the same type of gross feeling I get when people say that Latino/Hispanic immigrants need to learn English because they're now in America. It's a disgusting fear based on the idea that people won't or can't assimilate because they still want to hold on to certain traditions from their native country. At the end of the day we all have immigrant origins.

Okay so enough of me and my soapbox, like I stated before the book contained so many interesting bits of information and history; however, the writing was disjointed and parts of chapters didn't really seem to connect with each other. What I did like is the fact that a lot of topics discussed in the chapters were told with examples of actual immigrants and how the US's immigration laws or lack thereof impacted them and their families. I wouldn't say that this book is the ultimate answer to all things related to immigration; however, it is a good place to start. It is written for a middle grade to teen audience so I don't know if adults would ultimately find it appealing.

Overall, I did enjoy the information and it really pushed me to think about some things especially how immigration is currently handled and discussed. I didn't enjoy the authors writing style and felt as though the story could have been laid out in a more attractive and interesting manner.

Side note: the photographs in the book were AMAZING

17 January 2018

Can't Wait Wednesday #25, Hotel Silence by Adur Ava Olafsdottir

Can't Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Tressa over at Wishful Endings She has taken on a similar meme to Jills Waiting on Wednesday over at Breaking the Spine. Since Jill hasn't posted in a while I'm going to join in on this meme. To participate all you have to do is spotlight upcoming publications you're eagerly anticipating. Keep reading to see what I have chosen for this week.

Series: N/A
# of Pages: N/A
Publication: January 9th, 2018 
Goodreads | Amazon
Winner of the Icelandic Literary Prize, Hotel Silence is a delightful and heartwarming new novel from Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir, a writer who “upends expectations” (New York Times). Told with grace, insight, and humor, this is the story of one man’s surprising mid-life adventure of self-discovery that leads him to find a new reason for being. Jónas Ebeneser is a handy DIY kind of man with a compulsion to fix things, but he can’t seem to fix his own life. On the cusp of turning fifty, divorced, adrift, he’s recently discovered he is not the biological father of his daughter, Gudrun Waterlily, and he has sunk into an existential crisis, losing all will to live. As he visits his senile mother in a nursing home, he secretly muses on how, when, and where to put himself out of his misery. To prevent his only daughter from discovering his body, Jónas decides it’s best to die abroad. Armed with little more than his toolbox and a change of clothes, he flies to an unnamed country where the fumes of war still hover in the air. He books a room at the sparsely occupied Hotel Silence, and there he comes to understands the depths of other people’s scars while beginning to see his wounds in a new light. A celebration of life’s infinite possibilities, of transformations and second chances, Hotel Silence is a rousing story of a man, a community, and a path toward regeneration from the depths of despair.

Okay so this book is technically already released; however, my library does not have a copy of it yet so I'm really looking forward to picking it up as soon as they purchase a copy. I'm really trying hard to read more translated works this year and I think that this one sounds amazing!

What are looking forward to this Wednesday?

16 January 2018

Top 10 Tuesday: Bookish Resolutions/Goals

Happy Tuesday everyone! That means it is time for another Top 10 Tuesday! Top 10 Tuesday has now been passed from The Broke and the Bookish to The Artsy Reader Girl . This week we're discussing our bookish resolutions and goals; however, since I'm not pressuring myself to complete a certain amount of goals this year I'll be able to relax. As a result my Top 10 Tuesday is actually going to be a Top 5 Tuesday haha. Here are my few and very relaxed goals for 2018.

  • Usually I set my Goodreads goal to be rather high; however, towards the end of last year I realized how stressed I was as a result of setting my goal so high (it was 200 books and yes I did reach it). This year I decided to play a little psychological game with myself and only set it to 25 books. This means that I know that I will definitely reach my goal and I can relax a little instead of stressing about numbers. 

  • This is a challenge/goal that I'm so excited for. I realized how much I loved audiobooks in the past year and it definitely has kept me motivated during some slow days at work. I'm a huge advocate for audiobooks and I plan on listening to at least 10-15 this year although I'm sure it will be more than that. 

  • This is the challenge that I'm probably most excited for. I failed last year, but if you didn't know I've been attempting to read a book from authors from every country in world. The process is slow and I don't expect to accomplish this goal anytime soon; however, it is one that I think is beneficial to myself and to the individuals that follow this blog. 

  • Yes I know this image is from 2017 haha but I couldn't find a more recent picture. I'm participating in the 11th annual graphic novel/manga challenge which is always a great thing fro me since I read so many comics, graphic novels, and manga. I set my goal for 52 again this year, but knowing me that will change rather quickly by the middle of the year. 

  • My last bookish goal/resolution is to keep up with some sort of consistency on this blog. It's hard and life gets in the way, but as I go into my third year of blogging I want to focus on really building my readership and releasing quality information. 
What are your bookish goals/resolutions for 2018?