Currently Obsessed With: July 2019

Hello!  I can’t believe it’s August already, and the year is really flying by!

July was a pretty fun month for me.  Not a lot happened, but it was still a great month.  I went to the San Diego Zoo a few times…I ended up getting a membership when I went on July 4th, and it’s really fun to just walk around.  I’m pretty sore for a couple of days afterwards, because there are a lot of hills, but it’s worth it.

How can you not love baby giraffes?  There are two right now!  I only got a picture of one, but they’re both really adorable.

I just love the giraffes.

I’m bummed I didn’t make it before the pandas left a while back but we have polar bears!

Gerenuks look really cool, and they remind of giraffes.  And it’s amazing how they can stand up to eat.

And I actually managed to see a koala awake, which feels like a small miracle!

Anyway, that’s enough zoo talk!  I mostly just wanted to share some of the pictures, and there may be more to come.

I also hung up some pictures last month, and I can’t believe it’s taken me over a year to start decorating my room.  I’m in love with this starfish photo, this sea urchin photo, this macaron print, a really cool pineapple print, a Dragonfly Inn poster, and a Stars Hollow poster.  It’s just nice to actually have stuff hanging on my walls.  I’m actually surprised that I don’t have anything Harry Potter related hanging up but maybe I will one of these days.

I also had book club, which was fun!  We read The Storm Crow by Kalyn Josephson, and I really liked it.  I really liked the magic, and how connected they were to crows.  I’m curious to see where things go, and I’m pretty excited about the next book.

Really, that’s all I have for today.  I wish I had more to talk about, but I’m pretty sure I’ll have more to talk for August!  I hope you have a great day!

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What I’ve Been Reading: The Book Club Edition #2

I’ve been meaning to do this post for a while, but I never seem to get around to it!  For some reason, I don’t tend to review the books I read for my club but I did want to share what we’ve been reading lately!

January’s pick was The Boneless Mercies by April Genevieve Tucholke.  I liked it but I wanted more of the world…which is all I can remember about the book.  I really wish I had more to say about it, but I don’t.  Obviously, not a lot stood out months later.  You can find out more about The Boneless Mercies here.

February: We read The Disasters by M.K. England, which is a really fun sci-fi.  This group reminded of the group of teens we see in Six Of Crows…but in space.  I’m not comparing the two at all but for some reason, I did think of Six Of Crows.  It actually reminded me a lot of The Breakfast Club.  I wouldn’t say Breakfast Club in space, but if there’s a movie or book with a random group of kids, you’ll probably think of that.  You can find The Disasters on goodreads.

March: Geekerella by Ashley Poston!  I think I was one of the few who hadn’t read it, so I was excited.  It definitely falls into the realm of YA contemporary about fandom.  Is it just me, or is that something that’s kinda sorta been a thing for a while?  It was fun and cute, and I loved the nods to Cinderella.  I’m not at all a Comic Con person, but I definitely appreciated the fandom references.  It was also cool because she had a signing in San Diego, and I got both Geekerella and The Princess And The Fangirl signed.  You can find out more about Geekerella here.

April: Sherwood by Megan Spooner.  I was really excited about Sherwood because I really liked Hunted when I read it a couple of years ago.  I really liked this one too, though I could have done without the romance.  I can’t wait to see what other stories she ends up re-telling, assuming she does more.  I’ve enjoyed her stand-alones but I’ve have a hard time getting through her books that she’s co-written.  You can find Sherwood on Goodreads here.

And the last one for today is May’s book, which is The Last Voyage Of Poe Blythe by Ally Condie.  I finished this book pretty recently, so I could go into a lot more detail for it.  I just don’t have the energy for a longer review.  I liked it, but I couldn’t picture the world really well.  I felt like I had to do a lot of the imagining myself because there was so little detail for the world building.  It went pretty fast, which was nice, and it felt dystopic but also in the past.  It also felt a little steampunk to me as well.  The ending was a little random and I wish we had more of that story.

That’s all for today, but I’ll definitely be back with more book talk!

Book Review: Daughter Of The Burning City by Amanda Foody

Book: Daughter Of The Burning City by Amanda Foody

Published July 2017 by Harlequin Teen|384 pages

Where I Got It: I own the hardcover

Series: None

Genre: YA Fantasy

Sixteen-year-old Sorina has spent most of her life within the smoldering borders of the Gomorrah Festival. Yet even among the many unusual members of the traveling circus-city, Sorina stands apart as the only illusion-worker born in hundreds of years. This rare talent allows her to create illusions that others can see, feel and touch, with personalities all their own. Her creations are her family, and together they make up the cast of the Festival’s Freak Show.

But no matter how lifelike they may seem, her illusions are still just that—illusions, and not truly real. Or so she always believed…until one of them is murdered.

Desperate to protect her family, Sorina must track down the culprit and determine how they killed a person who doesn’t actually exist. Her search for answers leads her to the self-proclaimed gossip-worker Luca, and their investigation sends them through a haze of political turmoil and forbidden romance, and into the most sinister corners of the Festival. But as the killer continues murdering Sorina’s illusions one by one, she must unravel the horrifying truth before all of her loved ones disappear.

This is a book I’ve had for ages, but it was something I hadn’t read…until it was selected for the #MGYABC.  I really wish I liked it more, because the cover is really pretty (and that shade of purple is amazing), and it’s a cool idea.

I don’t know that a stand-alone was the best fit for this world.  I thought the world-building was really confusing, and most of the time, I wasn’t sure if Gomorrah was a festival or a city or both.  Maybe I missed that part, and maybe it’s both, but I thought it wasn’t clear what Gomorrah actually was.  Also, we barely see the festival itself, other than Sorina’s illusions, and I honestly thought that we’d see more of the festival.

Honestly, this book was more murder mystery than fantasy, and I felt like it could have happened anywhere.  Other than the illusions, there really weren’t a lot of fantasy elements, and I was disappointed by that because for whatever reason, I thought it would be more of a fantasy.  I thought that the person behind the murders was pretty obvious, and I figured it out pretty early on, so that’s something to keep in mind.

I also felt like a lot of names were thrown at me.  I mean, Sorina has a lot of illusions, and I sort of liked that they were her family,  but it was hard to keep up with who was who.  What was interesting and cool and really different was that we get drawings and a description of each one throughout the book.  It didn’t really help me keep track of everyone, but it was an interesting way to go about it.

I did think it was a little sad that she’d rather be around her illusions than real people.  They get better treatment than a lot of the actual people in the book, now that I think about it.  I’m not sure what to make of it, but people clearly don’t think much of the people of Gomorrah.  There also seems to be a distinction between those who live Up Mountain and Downghill.

I had such a hard time picturing everything.  I had no idea where things were, especially in relation to each other, and I felt like we were at place after place, but for me, there wasn’t enough to distinguish each place from each other.  There were parts where I was skimming because the book was either painfully slow or painfully boring, so that’s something I could have missed as well.

And then there’s the festival itself.  Okay, Sodom and Gomorrah is one of two things I thought of when I saw Gomorrah (Gamora being the other, though that’s probably because I saw Infinity War while I was reading this book).  And that definitely brings a certain image to mind, but I didn’t expect to see much of the biblical Gomorrah, since this is YA.  But while there are mentions of sins and a woman-turned-pillar-of-salt and the history of Gomorrah, it’s not really explored in-depth, and I wish we got more of the Festival.  I was picturing something like the Night Circus or Caraval, but like I said, this book was more murder mystery with some magic than a festival in a fantasy setting.

I don’t think being a stand-alone worked in it’s favor.  I felt like it was too short page-wise to fully get immersed in this world, and I feel like this book being a stand-alone hurt it because we weren’t able to get more of the world Sorina lives in.

1 star.  I thought the world was really confusing and not explained very well.  The concept is cool, but I don’t think it was well-done.