Emojiathon Wrap-Up 👬🎁❤️️😍

Emojiathon is a read-a-thon that took place throughout the month of February. There was a bunch of categories for this one – choose one or as many as you’d like! One book can satisfy more than one category (emoji). 😀📕

In February I read Carve The Mark by Veronica Roth.
👬 has a marginalized group
😊 makes me happy
🤖 Sci Fi
👶 2017 Release
👀 Seeing Everywhere

I also read Skippy Dies by Paul Murray.
😭 cry worthy

And the last book I read was True Canadian UFO Stories by John Robert Colombo.
📚 any

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Books Of The Academy Awards #Oscars2017

Many Oscar nominees for 2017 began as a good book, or short story. Here is a list of books which inspired the Academy Award nominated work for this year.

 

arrival-1391_1Arrival is based on a 1998 short story called “Story of Your Life” by Ted Chiang

fences_film

The film Fences is based on the play Fences written by August Wilson.

lion_2016_poster

The film Lion is based on the non fiction book called A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierley and Larry Buttrose.

Moonlight_(2016_film).png

Moonlight is based on the play In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue by Tarell Alvin McCraney.

elle_poster

Elle is based on the novel Oh by Philippe Djian.

nocturnal_animals_poster

Nocturnal Animals is based on the novel Tony and Susan by Austin Wright.

hidden-figures

Hidden Figures is based on the non fiction book Hidden Figures.

silence_2016_film

Silence is based on the novel Silence by Shūsaku Endō.

Fantastic_Beasts_and_Where_to_Find_Them_poster.png

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is based on the book by the same name, written by J.K. Rowling.

Life,_Animated_Official_Poster.jpg

Life, Animated is based on the book Life, Animated: A Story of Sidekicks, Heroes, and Autism written by Ron Suskind.

A_Man_Called_Ove.png

A Man Called Ove is based on the book by the same name, written by Fredrick Backman.

Blind_Vaysha_poster.png

Blind Vaysha based on a story by Georgi Gospodinov.

Pear_Cider_and_Cigarettes_poster.png

Pear Cider and Cigarettes is based on a graphic novel of the same name written by Robert Valley.

 

Spoiler-Free Book Review: Skippy Dies

Skippy Dies is a 2010 tragicomic novel by Paul Murray. It was shortlisted for the 2010 Costa Book Awards, longlisted for the 2010 Man Booker Price, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, ranked number three in Time’s list of the ten best books of 2010, nominated for the 2010 Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction, 2010 Irish Book Awards Irish Novel of the Year, and nominated for the 2012 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.

skippy-dies

It is classified as a tragic comedy, and while it is certainly tragic – there were many parts where I actually cried – I wouldn’t necessarily call it funny. There were a couple funny parts that made me laugh, such as the alternate explanation for the meaning behind Robert Frost’s “Road Not Taken”.

Skippy Dies takes place in fictional 140 year old Seabrook College, a Catholic boarding school in Dublin. Split into three sections, “Hopeland,” “Heartland” and “Ghostland”, it begins with Skippy dying on the floor of a local doughnut shop, then it takes us back in time to explain how he ended up there, writing Lori’s name on the floor as he died. Lori, the frisbee girl he falls in love with, who is also romantically involved with Carl (psycho Carl). We follow Skippy and his friends Ruprecht, Mario, Geoff, and Dennis, who are all students at the boys boarding school, led by their mean Headmaster “The Automator”. Their teacher Howard also shares his story of how his long-time relationship and life unravel.

The characters are well developed, written with their own unique voice. We have an excellent amount of description, not too much, just the right amount so that you can picture each character in your mind perfectly, and feel like you are standing in the halls of Seabrook College. However, I detest the use of racist terms, unless it’s an “own voices” type book, teaching us about culture and history. If a character like Carl makes racist or sexist statements that’s fine, he is the villain, but I really want to see another character call them out on it. Carl Cullen and Barry Barnes are the two little drug-head dweebs at your school, who think they are so cool and bad-ass but they are losers.

Although most of the characters were well-written, with clear goals, motivations, struggles, and displayed growth – I had a really hard time connecting with them. I almost wanted to quit reading Skippy Dies about 55 times during the first 70%, and I think that was mainly due to the lack of empathy I had for the characters. I didn’t feel attached to Daniel Juster AKA Skippy, or to his best friend Ruprecht Van Doren. I didn’t care about their teacher Howard Fallon, or Miss McIntyre. I did find myself a little invested in Lori’s story, and may have enjoyed learning a bit more about her resolutions at the end of the story.

Ruprecht’s incessant discussion about M-Theory made me want to pull my hair out of my head. I don’t think the regular person reading this book would enjoy THAT much description about parallel universes, or string theory. I’m into science, but when I’m reading a story about drama unfolding at a boarding school I’d like the story to stay on track and not fall off the deep end into a discussion about theory.

I’m having a hard time writing this review because on the one hand I admire the story, characters, description of setting, plot. The climax was perfect, the resolution was a little muddy, but still good. By all means I should have LOVED this book but for some reason I just didn’t. I read the Ebook version, but it is available in a three volume set. I feel like reading Skippy Dies in the three volumes would give a better reading experience.

I do recommend you give this a read – as it covers important topics and is extremely thought-provoking. Have you read it? What did you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Thanks for stopping by, happy reading,

Amanda

 

 

Spoiler-Free Book Review: Carve The Mark

Veronica Roth, the best-selling author who brought us the Divergent series, has a new Young Adult Science Fiction novel published in January 2017 by Harper Collins called Carve The Mark – the first book of a duology.

“I am Shotet. I am sharp as broken glass, and just as fragile. I tell lies better than I tell truths. I see all of the galaxy and never catch a glimpse of it” page 226

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On a planet where violence and vengeance rule, in a galaxy where some are favored by fate, everyone develops a currentgift, a unique power meant to shape the future. While most benefit from their currentgifts, Akos and Cyra do not—their gifts make them vulnerable to others’ control. Can they reclaim their gifts, their fates, and their lives, and reset the balance of power in this world?”

Cyra is the sister of the brutal tyrant who rules the Shotet people. Cyra’s currentgift gives her pain and power—something her brother exploits, using her to torture his enemies. But Cyra is much more than just a blade in her brother’s hand: she is resilient, quick on her feet, and smarter than he knows.

Akos is from the peace-loving nation of Thuvhe, and his loyalty to his family is limitless. Though protected by his unusual currentgift, once Akos and his brother are captured by enemy Shotet soldiers, Akos is desperate to get his brother out alive—no matter what the cost. When Akos is thrust into Cyra’s world, the enmity between their countries and families seems insurmountable. They must decide to help each other to survive—or to destroy one another.”

Character development was good. The main characters Akos and Cyra had a goal, their motivation was clear, and they both struggle with internal/external conflict. I felt connected to them. Akos is Thuvhe, living in Hessa with his mother Sifa, father Aoseh, younger brother Eijeh, and older sister Cisi. Cyra Noavek is Shotet, living with her brother Ryzek who is ten years older than her.  I would have liked more of a character development arc.

The currentgifts were interesting, reminded me of Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children. For example, Akos’s mother Sifa is an oracle who can see the future, Cyra’s currentgift causes you pain if you touch her – or if she touches you. Akos’s currentgift is that he can interrupt the “current” – which means he can take way other people’s currentgift. There are also a handful of people who have “fates”. Akos’s fate is to die in service to the family Noavek. His brother Eijeh’s fate is to the future of the galaxy.

I love lots of setting description, and feel like Carve The Mark needed a bit more world-building. I’d like to know even more about the place, their situation. I needed a little more detail to help transport me to their world. In particular I would have liked to know more about “The Assembly” – who are they, what are their goals and motivations?

Shotet warriors attack Akos’s family, killing Akos’s father, and capturing Akos with his brother Eijeh. Ryzek, the leader of the Shotet, has big plans for Akos and Eijeh. Cyra wants no part of her brother’s evil plans, so she strikes up a deal with Akos – he would teach her how to make painkiller potion, and she will teach him how to fight, so he can help his brother Eijeh escape.

There were lots of conflicts, risks, danger. I didn’t have a moment where “all is lost” though, and the climax wasn’t quite as dramatic as I like. I think that may be because I never felt like Akos or Cyra were in any real danger, I didn’t fear for their lives.

I enjoyed the symbolism of “carving the mark”, such as the Shotet carve marks into their skin when they take a life, and Cyra carved marks into the tunnels so she would know her way.

You may have heard about racism allegations concerning Carve The Mark. I’ve read reviews from both sides, and after reading the book I would have to disagree with these allegations. For more on that, read the author’s blog post http://theartofnotwriting.tumblr.com/post/157313294397/question-what-do-you-say-to-allegations-of-racism

The few downfalls for this novel may be fixed in the second – however, I’m really disliking the idea that publishers keep putting out series when they could have put it all in one complete book.

For more info about the author’s work visit http://veronicarothbooks.blogspot.ca/

 

 

 

Emojiathon TBR😍😃📘📖

I’m taking part in another read-a-thon, this one is called Emojiathon 😄😄😄

I’ll be reading:

📚 Any Book: Skippy Dies by Paul Murray

🎁 Book Gifted to Me: Downstream: Reimagining Water by Dorothy Christian

♥️ My contemporary read will be Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

🤖 My Sci-Fi read will be Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth

For more info about Emojiathon check out https://docs.google.com/document/d/17EjA4Jo6aTg7cqAJ7ICmyqUTTZX9ffRUizx0VHXZTxM/edit

Also find them on twitter https://twitter.com/emojiathon

What will you be reading this month? 😍😃📘📖

word-less for 13 days

I simply cannot believe it’s been 13 days since I published a blog post! The last half of January blew by so fast. Does anyone else feel that way? It feels like 2017 might be the fastest year on record 😉

I’ve been reading Man Gone Down by Michael Thomas for a couple of weeks now, I picked that up for Diverseathon (a read-a-thon where the goal is to promote diverse books in “own voices”). Before I started reading Man Gone Down I was reading a guilty-pleasure book, True Canadian UFO Stories. I do enjoy me a good alien story (one of the stories I’m working on is a sci-fi alien invasion set 100 years into the future). I also recently started reading Skippy Dies. I don’t normally read many books at once, I like to consume them one at a time, but I had Skippy Dies on reserve at the library, and it’s a high request read so I only have two weeks then it’s due back, which means the other two books are on hold while I devour this one. Honestly, I’m not enjoying Skippy Dies so far, due to some of the racist and LGBT profanity used. I’ll keep you posted on those…What are you currently reading?