Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Girlchild by Tupelo Hassman

Girlchild by Tupelo Hassman is an unexpected debut novel that blurs the line between young adult and literary fiction with the story of Rory Hendrix, who lives in a Reno trailer park with her mother and is “third generation in a line of apparent imbeciles, feeble-minded bastards surely on the road to whoredom.” 

Rory happens to have a copy of the Girl Scout Handbook she's borrowed from the library and she pours over it for advice. Unfortunately, the Girl Scout connection was probably my least favourite part of the novel, it often felt forced or unnecessary to me, like Hassman thought the book needed a gimmick. With writing this strong, it certainly didn’t.

Because easily my favourite thing about Girlchild was the words. Beautiful, deep, powerful words that left an impact long after I finished reading them. Instead of chapters, the novel is divided up so that every page or so is it's own little story– which sometimes made it a bit confusing when one bit was ending and a new one was beginning as I listened to it on audiobook, but usually just meant that a scene was over before I knew it, like a quick punch to the gut before it was time for something else. Interestingly, the audiobook is actually narrated by Tupelo Hassman, and she is one of the rare authors that can actually do a fantastic job reading it, so that I definitely enjoyed listening.

Hassman's incredible writing allows her to really create a believable setting, letting the reader into this trailer park world, where kids growing up never thinking they'll amount to anything. It was both devastating and illuminating to read about. The majority of the novel wasn't things I could relate to, but somehow with Hassman's words, they felt real. That said, it wasn't pity that I felt for Rory. Instead it was laughter and pain and joy, it was something incredibly human and real.

Coming away from Girlchild I am left with two messages: one, that it's horrible that kids really do have to grow up in conditions like Rory Hendrix, and I hope we can do as much as possible to fix that, and two, that Hassman is a brilliant writer and I will absolutely be picking up whatever she writes next.

Release Date: February 14th 2012  Pages: 275  Format: Audiobook/Hardcover 
Source: Edelweiss/Publisher  Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux  Buy It: Book Depository

This is a review by Zoë. You can find her here on Goodreads or on Twitter @strandedhero

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Mini Reviews: Birthmarked and Unearthly Tie-In Short Stories

Two of my favourite recent trilogies; Birthmarked by Caragh M. O'Brien and Unearthly by Cynthia Hand, both had connected online-only content released right around the time the third and final novels were. I was really excited to read both, and thought I'd give my opinion on whether or not they are worthwhile.
First is "Ruled", a short story by Caragh M. O'Brien that takes place between Prized and Promised in her Birthmarked Trilogy. Like O'Brien's other short story, "Tortured"– reviewed here– which takes place between Birthmarked and Prized, it's also told from Leon's point of view.

It's a sweet story, that shows Leon visiting Gaia, wanting to give her a bracelet but instead ending up participating in a birth. It really helps to show Leon's outsider status, how he doesn't really belong. It also really shows how Leon feels about Gaia's distance. Reading the other books from Gaia's perspective, it's a lot easier to see where she's coming from when she has a hard time committing to Leon, whereas reading from his perspective is heart-breaking.

I did have a problem with vocabulary though, because at  one point, Leon calls Peter a "tool" and I definitely don't remember that vocabulary from the other Birthmarked books, though it's possible it was used, but in this context at least it took me out of the world O'Brien had created. It might have especially been a problem because with a short story there is so little time to bring that world alive again, every word counts.

Even though "Ruled" didn't blow me away like the full novels in the Birthmarked Trilogy have, it was definitely an enjoyable quick little read with some further insight into the characters, and after finishing Promised it was nice to return to the series, even for a moment.

"Radiant" is actually a novella-length story by Cynthia Hand that takes place between books 2 and 3 in the Unearthly Trilogy. Interestingly, unlike the full novels that are told strictly from Clara's perspective, "Radiant" alternates between Clara and Angela's viewpoints.

As always, I adored Hand's writing and I definitely think picking up "Radiant" is worthwhile. Unlike most ebook tie-ins, like "Ruled", that might provide a bit more character insight, "Radiant" actually provides more story insight. I haven't read the final Unearthly novel, Boundless, yet so I'm not sure how much will be revealed in it, but there is definitely new material and things I didn't know about the story just from reading Unearthly and Hallowed. "Radiant" also ends on a pretty intense note.

It was also really interesting to experience the Italian setting of "Radiant" as it takes place during the summer after Clara's final year of high school, following her mom's death and breakup with Tucker. So of course there wasn't any Tucker, just a few thoughts of him, and that was definitely something I missed. Angela's boy does play an important role though, and there is quite a bit of intrigue there that definitely left me worried about where things are going next. Ultimately, even though "Radiant" might not technically be necessary, I think it was a hundred percent worthwhile to read before picking up Boundless and I'm so glad I did.

Overall, two well-written tie-stories that I would definitely recommend picking up. "Ruled" is more of a quick bit of insight into Leon's thoughts, as well as seeing Gaia participate in a birth which was also pretty cool. In contrast, the much longer "Radiant" has time to develop new aspects of the story, which means I think picking it up is not only necessary, but a thrilling and enjoyable experience. I'm sad to see both the Unearthly and Birthmarked trilogies come to an end, but glad to have this extra time with them thanks to O'Brien and Hand's online stories. These are definitely two series I'll be recommending for years to come.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Acacia by David Anthony Durham

Acacia: The War with the Mein, the first book in the Acacia Trilogy by David Anthony Durham, opens with an assassin setting off on a quest to the capital in order to free his people from a harsh conqueror. He travels from the harsh winter of his homeland to the brighter climate of the central part of the Akkadian Empire. This introduction provides a sweeping glance of the sprawling world Durham has created, while introducing the Mein, the race that will form such a key part of the novel.

Acacia is a successful first book in a trilogy. In addition to introducing the Akkadian empire as well as the many other people who inhabit the world, the reader also learns of, the magic system. It is one that remains quite low-key but which still leads to an awe-inspiring scene later in the book. An array of characters are also introduced; all of them interesting, most of them flawed, and a few of them heroic. In this, Durham can certainly be compared to the current king of character driven fantasy, George R.R Martin. From reading Acacia, I would say that he could give Martin a run for his money.

Leodan’s children, the main characters of the book, lives form the spine of the story. Each one of them is different, but each one ended up being a character I came to love. Their father, Leodan, one of my favourite characters, is king of this vast empire, a man who loves his children, but who is involved in a dark and loathsome deal with the devil. Hannish Mein, a character I think everyone can love to hate, is the ruler of the Mein and capable of both great love and great cruelty. His quest to fulfill the desires of his undead ancestors forms a major part of Acacia. It’s not just the characters that are well-written, but the world itself is richly developed. Durham’s earlier historical novels obviously prepared him for the world building he has done in this story, and the history of the Akkadian Empire resonates throughout.

The story itself is told in three parts – the lead-up to Leodan’s assassination and the scattering of his children; the lives of his four children in the years following that assassination; and the gathering of those children with all of the consequences that holds for the empire their father lost. Throughout, Durham plays with the reader’s expectations, leading you down what seems a very familiar road, only to throw a bag over your head, spin you round five times, and then pull the rug out of from under your feet. The surprises might leave you reeling, but they make for an intriguing, exciting novel.

Ultimately, Acacia tells an intriguing story, as well as setting up a fantastic world for further exploration in subsequent books. Durham certainly sets a high bar for the follow-up, The Other Lands. I can’t wait to dive back in.

Release Date: June 27th 2007  Pages: 763  Format: Paperback 
Source: Purchased  Publisher: Random House Buy It: Book Depository

This is a review by Joel. You can find him here on Goodreads or on Twitter @RavenusReader 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Introducing: Joel, Associate Book Reviewer

Today I'm lucky enough to welcome another associate reviewer to In The Next Room. Joel reads a lot and will be able to add some sci-fi and fantasy reviews to the blog, something I don't usually get around to myself! Here's a nice little introduction from Joel, and you can look forward to seeing his reviews around in the future :)

Hello to all! My name is Joel, I’m almost thirty, a husband, father, trainer, reader and, now thanks to Zoe, reviewer! Being a voracious reader, who averages between 150 to 200 books in a year, I have often thought about getting into the book review blogging scene. So I’m really excited for this opportunity to share with you all some of my thoughts on the books I have read.

My reading tastes tend to the science fiction/fantasy side of the spectrum, but I also enjoy historical (fiction and non), thrillers, more literary offerings, memoirs, indie published works and pretty much anything as long as it is well written and tells a good story. Reading has always been a huge part of my life – I was the family member who would sit in a corner during family reunions with my nose stuck in a book and who used to get bookshop gift certificates as presents! I’m sure most can relate!
Following in Meghan’s footsteps, I thought I’d share my top five books from 2012:

1. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain

2. Winter of the World by Ken Follett

3. Swan Song by Robert R. McCammon

4. Shadow of Freedom by David Weber

5. The Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye

You can find me here on Goodreads, my blog, or here at my Twitter account, @RavenusReader

Sunday, February 17, 2013

It's Monday, what are you reading? (33)

Hosted by Book Journey
I didn't think I was going to have a post because up until earlier tonight (Sunday), I hadn't finished any books, but then I finished two. And none were on my list last week. Whoops. 

Last week I finished reading:
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
I got caught up in Gone Girl which I started for a readalong and didn't get hooked on right away, but then about 160 pages in I did get hooked and then I couldn't stop over the entire weekend and I devoured it. Intense, dark, and well written. Not happy about the ending but the more I think about it, I guess it was kinda perfect. Maybe.

Hana by Lauren Oliver
A short story that takes place at the same time as Delirium but this time told by Lena's best friend Hana. I wish I remembered the first book better, I should really do a reread before book 3 comes out next month but I don't think I'll have time. At least this refreshed a little bit, and even though it isn't necessary to read it, I do think the shock at the end adds something you don't get from Delirium, though possibly it will be discussed further in Requiem. I hope so, because I need answers!

What I plan to read this week:
Boundless by Cynthia Hand
I really will! Contrary to what the past few weeks of these posts would indicate, I'm actually really looking forward to this. I'm also a little nervous... it's book 3 and that means the end and I really hope things turn out the way, I mean with the boy, I hope they will!

Annabel by Lauren Oliver
Also going to read this short story in preparation for Requiem. It's told from the perspective of Lena's mother, and again, should be interesting and also remind me of some of the many things I have probably forgotten. It takes place before Delirium.

What are you reading this Monday? 

This is a post by Zoë. You can find her here on Goodreads or on Twitter @strandedhero

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Underwater Dogs by Seth Casteel

Is it fair to review this book? Probably not, but I just want to share it's awesomeness with my readers. Granted, there aren't many words in Underwater Dogs, just an introduction at the beginning to explain how the project came about, along with some information about each dog featured, but since when do books need words? Certainly not if they have adorable photos like these instead.

So yes, Seth Casteel's coffee table book, Underwater Dogs, was on my birthday wish list. And yes, I am very happy my mom bought it for me. Because sometimes you just need a book to make you smile, and that's exactly what this one does. It also makes me want to buy an underwater camera and start taking pictures because I really don't know what my family's dogs look like underwater. But now I'm curious.

As a side note, it is most definitely cheating to count this as one of my "books read in 2012" but I'm going to anyway. I promise not to count "rereads" though– because I will definitely continue to come back to Underwater Dogs. Who could say no to those faces? 

Release Date: October 23rd 2012 Pages: 114  Format: Hardcover 
Source: Gift  Publisher: Little, Brown and Company Buy It: Book Depository

This is a review by Zoë. You can find her here on Goodreads or on Twitter @strandedhero

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Collateral by Ellen Hopkins

In Collateral, Ellen Hopkins' second adult novel, Ashley, a young woman who doesn't believe in war, falls in love with Cole, a man who is fighting in it. Having been together for five years and four deployments, Ashley pursues her MFA while Cole is away. She never imagined her life this way, but her love for Cole leaves her no other option. The only problem is, Cole may no longer be the person she fell in love with.

The novel goes back and forth in time, from when Ashley and Cole were just falling in love, to their present situation five years later. I really liked the magic of when they were first together, and I feel like Hopkins captured that initial infatuation perfectly. I didn't find the tense-switching confusing, but I was desperate to know exactly how things went so wrong and that definitely kept me reading.

Like Hopkins' young adult books, many of which I have read and loved– including the Crank Trilogy and IdenticalCollateral is written in verse. The verse is complimented by poetry written by Cole, which added an interesting dimension to the story by giving insight into what he was thinking and feeling. As always, I thought Hopkins' verse flowed smoothly and was really easy and enjoyable to read.

However, while I did think Collateral was incredibly well-written, but I don't think I enjoyed it quite as much as I've loved Hopkins' young adult books. This has very little to do with the fact that she's writing older characters here, and more to do with some of the storyline that just rubbed me the wrong way. In general, Hopkins' writes the kind of books that make the reader think, and although she still mostly does that in Collateral it sometimes became too preachy for me to really enjoy it. At some points, it felt more like a message than a story. Ashley spends a lot of time talking about how the war Cole is fighting in is wrong, and the overall tone of the book is pretty negative. It also sometimes felt like Hopkins was simplifying things too much for the sake of the story, including Cole's story.

That said, I feel like many of my reasons for not falling completely in love with Collateral have to do with this book in particular, so it hasn't changed my adoration of Hopkins, nor the likelihood that I would pick up another novel by her again in the future– including adult titles.

Release Date: November 6th 2012  Pages: 496  Format: E-galley  Source: NetGalley/Publisher
Also by this Author (YA): Crank (Crank #1); Glass (Crank #2); Fallout (Crank #3); Identical; Burned (Burned #1)  Publisher: Simon and Schuster  Buy It: Book Depository

This is a review by Zoë. You can find her here on Goodreads or on Twitter @strandedhero

Monday, February 11, 2013

It's Monday, what are you reading? (32)

Hosted by Book Journey
Well not a very productive reading week this time! I did manage to finish one book, so there's that. It actually took me a lot longer than expected, but maybe I wasn't focused very well. I also pretended I was focusing on my own writing, but didn't get too much of that done either. Anyway, they can't all be winners. Next time, right?

Last week I finished reading:
Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake
Conflicted over this one. I feel like I say that about every book I read, but seriously. I missed Anna, evil Anna that is. The ending was intense, but there were definitely some bits leading up that bored me. I guess I'll have to put my thoughts into proper words and write a review at some point!

What I plan to read this week:
Boundless by Cynthia Hand
I got it from the post office, but didn't actually start reading it yet. Definitely will this week.

The One I Left Behind by Jennifer McMahon
Even though I've already started this one, it's going behind Boundless on the reading list because I know the first book is going to suck me and not let me go until I'm done. And I can't wait. If I have time after that, I'll definitely dig back into McMahon's novel. I was just getting to some interesting parts.

What are you reading this Monday?

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Something Like Normal by Trish Doller

Author Trish Doller has an amazing Tumblr, click here to visit it, where she regularly posts snippets of whatever her work-in-progress is. That's how in the months leading up to the release of Something Like Normal I was able to get a really good taste of her writing, through a novel that has since sold and been renamed as Where The Stars Still Shine. I mention this because these snippets, along with a first chapter excerpt from SLN available on her website, are exactly what had me so incredibly excited to read her debut novel– so much so that I pre-ordered it months in advance, something I rarely ever do.

Suffice it to say, I had pretty high expectations for this debut novel. 

Something Like Normal is the story of Travis, a marine who has just returned home from Afghanistan, to a situation that has changed dramatically. His brother's dating his girlfriend, his parents are breaking up, and he's having nightmares about his dead best friend. It's a lot to handle. Then he runs into Harper, a girl whose life he helped ruin but who now offers him the possibility of happiness again, or at least something like normal.

There were quite a few things I loved about this book. Doller writes an undeniably authentic and enjoyable voice in Travis; he always felt honest and believable as a person to me. In general, her writing is incredibly strong, and there are some beautiful descriptions and moments throughout the novel. Even the dialogue in the novel felt real and charming. If I didn't know better, I would honestly think Doller was an eighteen-year-old male marine. 

There's also plenty of conflict to fill a book with not much more than 200 pages. It makes the book incredibly easy to read, I think I devoured it in only a few hours. And I definitely enjoyed it. My only criticism would be that I maybe wanted a little more. It's frustrating but honest to say that my expectations going into Something Like Normal may have influenced my experience. The book itself is incredibly well-written, just like I expected from Doller. But I think it's just a bit too short for me. I wanted a little more time with the characters, a little more time for events to unfold and develop. It's not a major flaw but it does hold me back from the full-on gush fest I expected.

The truth is, I'm writing this review six months after finishing Something Like Normal, and in retrospect, some of the events or character changes in the novel feel like they needed a bit more time. That said, I am definitely still excited for Doller's next novel, Where The Stars Still Shine. I am most certainly still a big fan of hers. I couldn't stop reading Travis' journey, and I especially loved his voice. This is certainly the first young adult book I've read that deals with these kinds of issues, and I particularly enjoyed the male perspective, which is sometimes lacking among the young adult books I read. The relationship between Harper and Travis was really great, and despite tackling serious issues the novel still has a sense of humour.  

Something Like Normal may not have been exactly what I was hoping for, but it was something pretty close, and I am curious to see if Doller gets it perfect next time– with writing like hers, it's definitely possible. 

Release Date: June 19th 2012 Pages: 224  Format: Hardcover 
Source: Purchased  Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Buy It: Book Depository

This is a review by Zoë. You can find her here on Goodreads or on Twitter @strandedhero

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Meghan's 2013 Master List Review #1: The Purity Myth by Jessica Valenti

Wow. This book is a total wow.

I've been wanting to read it for a while, and it far exceeded any expectations I had! It opened my eyes to the many issues surrounding female purity and virginity in the US, drawing attention to many inherent biases and ideas I didn't even realize I possessed.

Valenti pulls back the curtain on some prevailing patriarchal elements of society we don't even realize. For example, she connects women's obsessions with aging and weight with the desire to look younger--a desire that comes from the societal assumption that women should appear young, fragile, and eternally infantilized. I had never connected my ideas about weight with this larger picture. Now that I realize that these ideas are based around the core purpose of keeping women from power, I am able to look at my own assumptions a lot more objectively.

But even more than I valued these revelations, I valued the main message of this novel: the morality of an individual, man or woman, should be based on their ethical or virtuous actions, not their level of sexual experience. Though this seems pretty obvious, what this novel ultimately problematized was the way our society teaches women that their morality does depend on their lack of sexual experience. This deeply entrenched attitude that is exposed in The Purity Myth is a must-read for all women, and any man who loves a sister, mother, female relative or friend.

Recommended to: every feminist, people questioning their views on sexuality and purity, those who are interested in the legal, moral, and political issues surrounding female sexuality.

Release Date: December 29, 2009  Pages: 272 Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased Publisher: Seal Press Buy It: Book Depository

This is a review by Meghan. You can find her here on Goodreads or on Twitter @meghanc303

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Meghan Review: Indiscretion by Charles Dubow

Indiscretion by Charles Dubow combines some of my favorite literary elements into a delicious and opulent cocktail. The lifestyle of the extremely rich, an outside narrator with close connections to central characters (much like Nick Carraway in The Great Gatsby), a love triangle with three strong and well-fleshed sides---Indiscretion has it all.

The plot revolves around the magnetic marriage of Harry and Maddy, a power couple that draws everyone around them into their glamorous life. Harry and Maddy seem to have everything---money, a beautiful son, and the kind of relationship everyone around them envies. But when they meet Claire, a young, charismatic woman, with an instant connection with Harry, the life they love so much is suddenly thrown into question.

Narrated by Maddy's childhood friend Walter, Indiscretion develops itself as slowly as the fine wine the characters love. Though usually I am understandably repulsed by affair narratives, this one was unique. It gave me the perspectives of all three individuals involved, and although it was from the somewhat biased view of Walter, it did work hard to develop each angle. Though I ultimately didn't sympathize with all the characters, and actually ended up hating some of them, I did love that I got a valid view from all perspectives.

However, the real strength of this narrative isn't the story itself, but the writing. Dubow is poetic and lyrical, illuminating the environment of very setting, from beach cottage to the city streets of Paris. I could almost taste the oysters sitting coldly on china platters!

Recommended to: any fans of relationship dramas (Nora Roberts, Jodi Picoult), people who party with Jay Gatsby, anyone who loves to fall in love with a setting.

Release Date: February 5, 2013  Pages: 400 Format: ARC
Source TLC Book Tours Publisher: William Morrow Buy It: Book Depository

Monday, February 04, 2013

Meghan Review: A Land More Kind Than Home by Wiley Cash

This novel offers a snapshot of a family within the larger context of a small town culture, mixing past and present events through changing viewpoints and sweeping descriptions of rural life. The central story revolves around Jess and Christopher "Stump" Hall, two young brothers who are unintentional witnesses to a secret neither of them fully understand. This secret implicates not only some of the main moral pillars of the town, but also people they love and respect, and it will have consequences neither of them can imagine.

One of the driving narrative forces in the book is the character Jess. Jess is adventurous and curious, and very loving. He acts as both best friend and caretaker to his older brother, Stump, who is a mute and just a little bit slower than the rest of the boys his age. The sections from his viewpoint really stood out to me. The character's voice was realistic, and his confusion about the world around him mirrored my own as I tried to piece together the evidence throughout.

Another viewpoint I appreciated was Adelaide Lyle, an old woman who looks after the children in her own Sunday school, keeping them from the influence of the church pastor she doesn't trust. Her reflections on her own failures and desires interested me because it was longer ranging, and it was an inner adult perspective on the events of Jess' life. She acts as the "sage" figure, commenting on the society she is not fully involved in, standing free enough to make her own judgements.

I would have liked to have had more adult viewpoints, particularly from Jess' parents, and a deeper look into the church whose secret's define the town. Though I understood and could appreciate the desire to keep this mysterious, I was curious throughout and left with more questions than answers. Especially on such a familiar and traditional theme (family secrets, betrayal, redemption) a deeper look could have really made this novel more of a stand-out for me. However, I really liked the rural and pastoral elements of the novel, which reminded me of Willa Cather at times and Laura Ingalls Wilder at others. It was scenic and lovely without being excessive.

Recommended to: people who enjoy a good rural mystery, John Wayne movies, switching viewpoints (think Ann Brashares or Jodi Picoult), and a younger perspective (To Kill a Mockingbird, Secret Life of Bees, Room)

Release Date: January 22, 2013  Pages: 336 Format: ARC (uncorrected proof)
Source: Publisher Publisher: HarperCollins Buy It: Book Depository

This is a review by Meghan. You can find her here on Goodreads or on Twitter @meghanc303

Sunday, February 03, 2013

It's Monday, what are you reading? (31)

Hosted by Book Journey
Overall a pretty good reading week. I didn't get much further the biggest book on my list from last week, The One I Left Behind, although I did pick it up tonight (Sunday) and make some progress.  I also managed to read the other three, plus another novella. I sometimes neglected writing, which I was hoping to do more of this week, for reading, so I'm not sure how my balance will be next week but I do have a few great books lined up.

Last week I finished reading:
Ruled by Caragh M. O'Brien

I know this was incredibly short, but I was still happy I finally read it. I think a part of me had been waiting, holding out for that last taste of the Birthmarked world, but considering it had been months since I finished the trilogy I figured it was probably time. Plus it helps boosts up my reading stats for 2013, which was already behind on my 100 book Goodreads challenge. So that was nice. The story itself was pretty good and it definitely made me miss Gaia and Leon. I'll definitely have to reread this series in the future sometime.

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
Writing this blurb just after finishing, I'm a little unsure about this one. I really loved the scary bits, and it's kinda made me want to look into reading more horror since this may be the first novel that could fall into that genre that I've read. And I do love scary movies. But at some point it stopped being a scary book. Near the end, it regained some of that charm, but ultimately I just didn't like the romance storyline and the main character, Cas, was a bit too confident for me. Still, I think Blake's written an exciting novel, with vivid imagery and creepy ghosts. I'll definitely be picking up the sequel, Girl of Nightmares.

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
A really interesting and insightful book on writing along with quite a bit of memoir type anecdotes that helps turn it into as much of a story as a guide. Hopefully some of the advice will pay off in my own writing; I'm not really convinced but it can't hurt. Besides even if things like telling you it's okay to write a bad first draft are fairly basic, it's still useful to have a reminder.

Radiant by Cynthia Hand
My copy of Boundless, the final book in the Unearthly Trilogy, is waiting to be picked up at the post office but it was snowing too bad today for me to go. So I spent the day reading this novella that takes place between Hallowed and Boundless and it definitely got me even more excited for the final book. I'm not sure if I'm right, but I feel like Radiant is different than a lot of short stories that get released online because it feels like it's actually adding something important to the novels. It's also just as well-written and well-researched as the rest of the series and had some interesting insight into Angela. I'll be curious to see how that plays out in Boundless.

What I plan to read this week:
The One I Left Behind by Jennifer McMahon
Yeah, not going to beat myself up about not finishing this one. Until tonight I hadn't picked it up at all, but I did read some more tonight at least. Plus, I had a productive reading week. But I would like to pick it up again. McMahon always hooks me so that I can't put her novels down, I just haven't gotten to that point with The One I Left Behind yet.

Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake
I love that this is a tiny, two-book, series that didn't feel the need to stretch itself out into a trilogy. And even though I disliked one aspect of Anna, I'm excited to see where Blake takes the story next in this sequel. I gave a brief test of the audio book and really disliked it, but I'm excited to pick up the print version this week.

Boundless by Cynthia Hand
Once I'm able to pick up my copy from the post office– thanks Ambur for the gift!– I will definitely be diving into this one. I'll be surprised if I get any sleep, because I already know I won't want to put it down. Also, there better be plenty of Tucker. Just saying.

What are you reading this Monday?