Thursday, February 15, 2018

*Book Blogger Hop* 16 February 2018

We are on to a new week for the Book Blogger Hop hosted by the lovely folks over at Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. This weeks questions is:
Have you ever found yourself acting like a favorite character in a novel? If so, which one? (submitted by Maria @ A Night's Dream of Books)
Not that I'm aware of, granted the way that I read multiple books at a time kind of prevents me from getting completely immersed in any given story, so I'm probably less likely to start taking on the characteristics of the characters that I'm reading about. The closest I'd say I've come is acting like Cath from Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, but that's because we're practically the same person already and has nothing to do with my adopting mannerisms from her character because of the book.

What about you? Do you ever act like the characters you're reading about? - Katie

*If you're stopping by from the linkup, please be sure to leave a link to your post below so I can stop by and see your answers too.*

Monday, February 12, 2018

*Top Ten Tuesday* What's Love Got to Do With It? (Feb 13)

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Joood - Hooligan of Platypire reviews bossed me into doing this, so I guess this is a thing I do now. 

This weeks theme is love freebie. So I'm not typically the sappy type to begin with, and I kind of feel like romance books get a fair amount of topics for them already in memes like this (I know I recently did one for fictional characters I'd share a kiss with on New Year's Eve), so I'm going to focus on books that have romance without being in the romance or erotica genres.

Divergent by Veronica Roth - YA dystopian, hint of romance between the MCs.
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand - Maybe I was reading more into the story than was there in this classic political novel, but I totally shipped Dagny and Hank.
The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown - Pretty much all of Robert Langdon's exploits in this suspense series have him toying with romance with his female counterparts.
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams - If you read this absurd sci-fi book and don't ship Trillian and Arthur, you're probably not human.
The Dragonriders of Pern series by Anne McCaffrey - This series involves many interconnected stories and there's at least a bit of romance in most of them.
The Timely Death Trilogy by Shannon A Thompson - In this paranormal YA trilogy, Eric and Jessica seem pretty much destined for each other, and yet their connection is not the focus of the story.
Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling - So the romance doesn't start at the beginning of the series, but between Harry, Ron, and Hermione, there are a few different romantic connections that play a role in the series.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern - I'm really not sure how or why this isn't already classified as Romance at least on Goodreads, especially since Celia and Marco are described as falling headlong into love in the blurb...but maybe it's because they fall in love with magic, I dunno. I spent a large portion of the book wanting them to be together though.
The Wolfegang series by Jillian Ashe - This sci-fi series is chock full of action with a side of romance.
The Demon Within series by Ginna Moran - This paranormal YA series had me wanting Cami to hook up with more than one guy.

Are there any books or series you'd add to my list of books with romance while not being listed as romance or erotica? - Katie

*If you're stopping by from the linkup please be sure to drop a link to your post below so I can stop by to check out your posts.*

Sunday, February 11, 2018

*Review* The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Genre: Historical Fiction
Published: March 14, 2006
Pages: 552

A story about, among other things: A girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul. Winner of the 2007 BookBrowse Ruby Award.

Winner of the 2007 BookBrowse Ruby Award. 

It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .

Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist – books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau. This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.

I waited way too long to read this book. I don't even really know why I waited so long, other than Courtney and I started this blog around the same time that I actually bought the book and it took me a while to get to the point where I started reading some of the books that I wanted to read instead of just books that we received requests for. 

If you follow my blog at all, you know that I love WWII era historical fiction. What I loved about this book is that it showed the lives of average Germans during the war. That's not a perspective I've seen a lot (or ever that I can think of off the top of my head). But Liesel's foster family wasn't exactly average either because they held unfavorable opinions about Jewish people, at least unfavorable by German standards during the war. 

Another highlight of this story was that it was told from the perspective of Death. It was a bit odd to get used to at first because he jumped around a bit, as Death is wont to do in the course of his work, but once I got used to it, it was a fun way to see things. While death isn't exactly omniscient, he does have access to information that a human narrator wouldn't have. 

I realize that I'm late enough to this party that you've probably already made up your mind about whether you want to read this book or not, but if you're still on the fence about it, you should absolutely not wait any longer. You're likely to regret it if you do, like I did. 

Overall I give The Book Thief 5.05 stars. - Katie 

Markus Zusak was born in 1975 and is the author of five books, including the international bestseller, The Book Thief, which is translated into more than forty languages. First released in 2005, The Book Thief has spent more than a decade on the New York Times bestseller list, and still remains there to this day.

His first three books, The Underdog, Fighting Ruben Wolfe and When Dogs Cry (also known as Getting the Girl), released between 1999 and 2001, were all published internationally and garnered a number of awards and honours in his native Australia and the USA.

The Messenger (or I am the Messenger), published in 2002, won the 2003 Australian Children’s Book Council Book of the Year Award (Older Readers) and the 2003 NSW Premier's Literary Award (Ethel Turner Prize), as well as receiving a Printz Honour in America. It also won numerous national readers choice awards across Europe, including, in 2007, the highly regarded Deutscher Jugendliteratur Jugendjury prize in Germany, which he won again for The Book Thief in 2010.

It is The Book Thief, however, that has established Markus Zusak as one of the most successful authors to come out of Australia. 

To date, The Book Thief has held the number one position at,, the New York Times bestseller list, as well as in countries across South America, Europe and Asia. It has also been in the top five bestsellers in the UK and several other territories. It has amassed many and varied awards, ranging from literary prizes to readers choice awards to prizes voted on by booksellers. It was the only book to feature on both the USA and UK World Book Night Lists in 2012, and has been voted as Australian readers’ favourite book by iconic independent bookstore, Dymocks, three years running.

In 2013, The Book Thief was adapted to screen, directed by Emmy Award-winning Brian Percival (Downton Abbey) and shot in Berlin by Twentieth Century Fox. The cast was headlined by Academy Award winner Geoffrey Rush (Shine, The King’s Speech) and Academy Award nominee Emily Watson (Breaking the Waves, Anna Karenina). It also cast Sophie Nelisse (Monsieur Lazhar), as Liesel Meminger. 

The Guardian calls The Book Thief “a novel of breathtaking scope, masterfully told.” The New York Times: “Brilliant and hugely ambitious…the kind of book that can be life-changing.” The Age: “an original, moving, beautifully written book.”

In 2014, Zusak received the American Library Association’s Margaret Edwards award for significant and lasting contribution to young adult literature, for his body of work ranging from The Underdog up to The Book Thief. 

Markus Zusak grew up in Sydney, Australia, and still lives there with his wife and two children.

*Review* Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller

Genre: YA/Fantasy
Published: August 29, 2017
Pages: 352

I Needed to Win.
They Needed to Die.

Sallot Leon is a thief, and a good one at that. But gender fluid Sal wants nothing more than to escape the drudgery of life as a highway robber and get closer to the upper-class—and the nobles who destroyed their home. 

When Sal steals a flyer for an audition to become a member of The Left Hand—the Queen’s personal assassins, named after the rings she wears—Sal jumps at the chance to infiltrate the court and get revenge. 

But the audition is a fight to the death filled with clever circus acrobats, lethal apothecaries, and vicious ex-soldiers. A childhood as a common criminal hardly prepared Sal for the trials. And as Sal succeeds in the competition, and wins the heart of Elise, an intriguing scribe at court, they start to dream of a new life and a different future, but one that Sal can have only if they survive.

I received a copy of this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. And I'm not going to lie, I requested this book purely because I love the cover. Fortunately the story behind it did not let me down. 

So Sal, the main character, is gender fluid, and that is made abundantly clear throughout the story. It's referenced so often that I actually spent a somewhat large amount of time wondering about Sal's genitals even though I don't think they're really relevant to the story. I actually feel a bit weird about spending so much time thinking about Sal's genitals in fact, but the book wouldn't let me forget how undefined they are (if that makes sense). And if you feel like I'm focusing on Sal's genitals a lot right now, you'll understand sort of how I felt about the focus on Sal's gender while reading the story. 

Sal's gender-identity aside, this story had a bit of a Hunger Games feeling to it. The whole premise of the contest to become a member of the queen's hand revolves around a competition between various people and death is very likely because the easiest way to win is to kill your competition. Just don't get caught. And the competition was a bit more complicated than just don't die, and I appreciated the other aspects involved and loved seeing how Sal grew as a person, learning new skills to make him/her an even more formidable person.

Overall I give Mask of Shadows 4.1234 stars. - Katie 

A wayward biology student from Arkansas, Linsey has previously worked as a crime lab intern, neuroscience lab assistant, and pharmacy technician. Her debut novel MASK OF SHADOWS is the first in a fantasy duology coming in September 2017 from Sourcebooks Fire. She can be found writing about science and magic anywhere there is coffee.

Friday, February 9, 2018

*Book Blogger Hop* 9 February 2018

We are on to a new week for the Book Blogger Hop hosted by the lovely folks over at Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. This weeks questions is:
What authors have you met and where? (submitted by Elizabeth @ Silver's Reviews)
None. I've never been to a book signing before and don't exactly live anywhere that meeting up with authors randomly would really be possible. But that answer is sort of a lie, although I don't consider it a lie because the one author I have met in person, I met before she was an author and I haven't been in her presence since she published her first book. So I've met her, but she wasn't exactly HER when I did (does that make any sense?)

Now that we are living back stateside again and I'm going to be living nearish to Denver at that, I'm hoping to get to start going to some bookish events and meeting some of my favorite authors. With luck I'll be in a financial position to fly to some events too, but I'm not getting my hopes up for that too terribly much yet.

What about you? What authors have you met and where did you meet them? - Katie

*If you're stopping by from the linkup, please be sure to leave a link to your post so I can read your answer too.* 

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

*Top Ten Tuesday* Books on my TBR Forever

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Joood - Hooligan of Platypire reviews bossed me into doing this, so I guess this is a thing I do now. 

This weeks theme is books that have been on my TBR list the longest and I still haven't read them, which is pretty much impossible for me to figure out because I don't have a proper TBR list, I have a TBR mountain, and I've completely scrapped previous "lists" that I had to start fresh on more than one occasion. There are books on my TBR list because I just desperately want to read them, books on my TBR list because I got them from Netgalley, books on my TBR list because I was supposed to read them for bookclub and haven't finished them yet, so many different places to choose my books from. So I'm going to twist this a little bit to focus on the ten books that have been on my currently reading shelf on Goodreads the longest.

Christine by Stephen King - started reading this January 22, 2013
The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd - started reading this December 12, 2013
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin - started reading this April 5, 2014
Dehumanized by Michael Loring - started reading this June 28, 2014
Sweetwater: The Kihn by Rivi Jacks - started reading this January 2, 2015
The Voyage by Tammie Painter - started reading this April 9, 2015
Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning by Timothy Snyder - started reading this June 17, 2015
The Road Home by Kathleen Shoop - started reading this August 6, 2015
The Improbability of Love by Hannah Rothschild - started reading this August 14, 2015
Buffalo Trail by Jeff Guinn - started reading this August 20, 2015

So there you have it, the ten books I've been reading the longest because I have major commitment issues (and in some cases lost access to the book before I finished reading it).

What books have been on your TBR of currently reading shelf the longest? - Katie

*If you're stopping by from the linkup, please be sure to drop a link to your post below so I can be sure to stop by and visit you as well to see your answer.*

Sunday, February 4, 2018

*Review* The Lost Letter by Jillian Cantor

Genre: Historical Fiction
Published: June 13, 2017
Pages: 322

A heart-breaking, heart-warming historical novel of love and survival inspired by real resistance workers during World War II Austria, and the mysterious love letter that connects generations of Jewish families. For readers of The NightingaleLilac Girls, and Sarah's Key.

Austria, 1938.
Kristoff is a young apprentice to a master Jewish stamp engraver. When his teacher disappears during Kristallnacht, Kristoff is forced to engrave stamps for the Germans, and simultaneously works alongside Elena, his beloved teacher's fiery daughter, and with the Austrian resistance to send underground messages and forge papers. As he falls for Elena amidst the brutal chaos of war, Kristoff must find a way to save her, and himself. 

Los Angeles, 1989
Katie Nelson is going through a divorce and while cleaning out her house and life in the aftermath, she comes across the stamp collection of her father, who recently went into a nursing home. When an appraiser, Benjamin, discovers an unusual World War II-era Austrian stamp placed on an old love letter as he goes through her dad's collection, Katie and Benjamin are sent on a journey together that will uncover a story of passion and tragedy spanning decades and continents, behind the just fallen Berlin Wall. 

A beautiful, poignant and devastating novel, The Lost Lettershows the lasting power of love.

I received a copy of this book through Penguin's First to Read program in exchange for an honest review. 

I was excited to read this book and it didn't let me down. I found myself absolutely intrigued by the mystery of the story, trying to figure out what the connection between Kristoff and Katie was beyond the stamp that she found in her father's collection. I'm happy to report that the author led me to the answer before she led fictional Katie to the answer, so I got to feel a little bit smart for figuring it out first. There were just so many little details to the story that made it a slam dunk for me. I got to wish for two separate romantic relationships to blossom (although that's kind of a recipe for heartbreak, honestly), and I got to see true loyalty in Kristoff. Every girl would be lucky to have a Kristoff in her life. 

I want to gush about the story because I loved it that much, but I fear that everything I want to talk about would be considered spoilers because I finished reading the story several months ago. While many details are still fresh in my mind like I just read the book yesterday, I know most of what I've retained are the major details. This is a book that I could absolutely see myself re-reading at some point though, and I don't often re-read. 

I give The Lost Letter 5.0765364 stars. - Katie 

Jillian Cantor has a B.A. in English from Penn State University and an M.F.A. from the University of Arizona, where she was also a recipient of the national Jacob K. Javits Fellowship. The author of several books for teens and adults, she grew up in a suburb of Philadelphia. She currently lives in Arizona with her husband and two sons. 

Visit her online at