I’m sure you have all heard of
Book Sparks , as the they rock the social media world. Well they have a mission to make this the #bestsummerever and have currated a list of some awesome summer reads for each month of the summer. They are encouraging everyone to read along, and sent some packages out to bloggers with the month’s reads.
I was over the moon estatic when I got an email saying I would be receiving a July box. Really?! Me?! I (not so) patiently stalked my front porch for the box and when it got here there was no hesitation to rip open the box and jump in!
Not only did they send some amazing summer reads, there were all sorts of fun summer goodies.
Throughout July, I will be reviewing and showcasing each of the books in the July box. Be sure to check out #bestsummerever and #src2016 on Twitter for people reading along each month. I hope you will read along with everyone too! Now, what to read first……
A giant, heartfelt thank you to the awesome people at Book Sparks for sending me July’s summer reading box. I am honored to be a part of this program.
Every Exquisite Thing by Matthew Quick
Little Brown Books. May 2016
Young Adult Contemporary
Nanette O’Hare is an unassuming teen who has played the role of dutiful daughter, hardworking student, and star athlete for as long as she can remember. But when a beloved teacher gives her his worn copy of The Bubblegum Reaper–a mysterious, out-of-print cult classic–the rebel within Nanette awakens.
As she befriends the reclusive author, falls in love with a young but troubled poet, and attempts to insert her true self into the world with wild abandon, Nanette learns the hard way that rebellion sometimes comes at a high price.
A celebration of the self and the formidable power of story, Every Exquisite Thing is Matthew Quick at his finest. Synopsis from Hachette Book Group
I was very excited to read this YA release from Matthew Quck, author of Silver Linings Playbook, and it did not disappoint.
For me, the character development was strong, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t irratared by some. Nanette becomes depressed and very woe is me in life. When it all first starts I felt like she was really overreacting, and didn’t really have anything to be so dramatic about. Near the end (no spoilers!) I felt like then did she have a reason to be distraught. Unnecessary sadness in characters is one of my pet peeves.
Every Exquisite Thing was a well written, entertaining coming of age story full of discovering first loves, personality and finding your place in the world.
Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler
Hogarth Publishers, June 2016
In a modern day retelling of Shakespeare ‘s Taming of the Shrew, Anne Tyler creates a family and a story that is, in my opinion, wonderful. Kate lives with her sister and her scientist father, and is the sole person responsible for the house. She makes sure food is prepared, house clean and her 15 year old sister, Bunny, is staying out of mischief all after her days working as a preschool assistant. Kate’s father has who he believes to be THE. BEST. lab assistant and they are close to completing a big project. Only problem is, Pyotr is about to be deported. Pyotr and Kate’s father come up with a plan to solve their problem. But is Kate agree with it?
This was a great modern retelling of Taming of the Shrew. It’s hard to modernize, and make you own when it comes to something such as Shakespeare’s work. Anne Tyler did a fabulous job of doing so. It’s very different from her typical work, but I think she aced the job of the retelling.
I could connect with Kate on a lot of levels. I was a preschool teacher in a place that sounded a lot like where she was, so those scenes all made me smile. As an older sister, I totally got her struggles with Bunny.
**minor spoiler alert** While I personally am not for any type of arranged marriage, I see why this idea came about and how it tied into the concept of Taming of the Shrew.
I read Taming of the Shrew in high school, but of course cannot remember much of the book. I’m thinking some Shakespeare retreads are in order after this! I’m also very interested in looking into the other retellings by Hogarth publishers. Other books in the Shakespeare modernization series are: Shylock is My Name, The Gap of Time and Hag-Seed (out this fall).
Thank you to Penguin Random House and blogging for books for sending me a copy of Vinegar Girl in exchange for honest review.
The Fireman by Joe Hill
William Morrow May, 2016
Horror. Post Apocalyptic.
A spore from an unknown source is plaguing the world. Popularly known as dragon scale, or plainly the scale, once infected a person gets scrolling black designs somewhere on their body. As the disease progresses, the black starts to get golden and then the person begins to smoke inside and breathe out smoke. In the worst cases, you start to burn from the inside out. Due to the scale, there are wildfires, closed cities and a shut down world. It becomes a battle of healthy vs. infected and a fight to the end.
There is so much I could say about The Fireman. The author, Joe Hill, has such a fantastic writing voice (even if he does sound a little like his dad: Stephen King!) The book starts strong in the first chapter and keeps up the pace throughout the whole entire book, making the 752 page beast seem to FLY by! Truly a sign of a talented writer.
The characters are so well developed. You feel as though you know them all personally, and you are really rooting for your favorites to survive.
The storyline was unique, however many scenes reminded me of the Walking Dead. Only the good guys are infected and running from the healthy. There was some violence and quite morbid subject matter, but I don’t think this is a gory book at all. I also don’t think it’s something that nightmares are made of, at least for me. It was suspenseful, but it wasn’t anything you couldn’t read at home alone at night.
I finished The Fireman last week. It gave me quite a book hangover. There have been many times over the week that I have thought about the story. This has been a well done, fabulous work and I highly recommend it to anyone who likes sci-fin, horror or apocalyptic stories.
A Monster Calls
By Patrick Ness
Walker Books September, 2011
Young Adult. Fiction. Fantasy.
Conor’s mother is terminally ill. Ever since she started her treatments, he has had nightmares. A new monster has been showing up at night now, and visits Conkr every night seeking the truth.
I know I’m in the majority when I say I won’t see a movie based on a book until I have read the book. Hearing A Monster Calls was going to be a movie, I of course ran out to pick up the book. At first I was taken aback and thought I had the wrong book when I saw all the illustrations throughout (they reminded me so much of the Scary Stories series as a kid!) The other thing that caught me off gaurd was the length. Very easily an afternoon read. Let me tell you, there sure is a lot of depth packed into this short, little book. Depth and lots of interpretation, very well done!!
It was also a very heartbreaking book. I will see the movie, it could be so beautiful if done right. I will also be seeing it in private to spare everyone from the ugly cry that will go with it!