- The Magic of Tiny Business: You Don’t Have to Go Big to Make a Great Living – Sharon Rowe *review*
- Dark Matter – Blake Crouch *review*
- The Dazzling Heights (The Thousandth Floor #2) – Katharine McGee *review*
Title: The Dazzling Heights (The Thousandth Floor #2)
Author: Katharine McGee
Release Date: August 29, 2017
Page Number: 422
All that glitters is not gold.
New York City, 2118. Manhattan is home to a thousand-story supertower, a breathtaking marvel that touches the sky. But amid high-tech luxury and futuristic glamour, five teenagers are keeping dangerous secrets…
Leda is haunted by memories of what happened on the worst night of her life. She’ll do anything to make sure the truth stays hidden—even if it means trusting her enemy.
Watt just wants to put everything behind him…until Leda forces him to start hacking again. Will he do what it takes to be free of her for good?
When Rylin wins a scholarship to an upper-floor school, her life transforms overnight. But being there also means seeing the boy whose heart she broke, and who broke hers in return.
Avery is tormented by her love for the one person in the world she can never have. She’s desperate to be with him…no matter the cost.
And then there’s Calliope, the mysterious, bohemian beauty who arrives in New York determined to cause a stir. And she knows exactly where to begin.
But unbeknownst to them all, someone is watching their every move, someone with revenge in mind. After all, in a world of such dazzling heights, just one wrong step can mean a devastating fall.
4 out of 5 stars
The idea of this New York City tower is still so cool to me. Even though I know I would despise it, but I guess if I didn’t know anything different then I wouldn’t. Who knows. Anyway. It’s such a cool idea having the entirety of this massive city in one building.
At first I wasn’t sure how I felt about Watt and Leda together, but the angstyness between them kind of made it fun to read. They didn’t really seem to like each other at all, but here they are being all couple-y. Who knows.
Atlas and Avery kinda creep me out because even though they’re not biologically related they still are siblings and that’s just too weird for me to be on board for. I get that you can be in love with someone, but does that mean you could never be in love with someone else eventually? I strongly believe that you choose who you love, so that means you could also choose who to not love. But that could be just me, idk.
I really enjoyed this book but I just don’t have a ton of feelings about it. I feel like all readers deal with this sometimes where you like a book but you don’t like anything super specific about it, and it was good but not great. I just don’t have too many feelings about it. I’m excited to read the last book because go me with actually continuing series I start!
Title: Dark Matter
Author: Blake Crouch
Release Date: July 26, 2016
Page Number: 342
“Are you happy with your life?”
Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious.
Before he awakens to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits.
Before a man Jason’s never met smiles down at him and says, “Welcome back, my friend.”
In this world he’s woken up to, Jason’s life is not the one he knows. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born. And Jason is not an ordinary college physics professor, but a celebrated genius who has achieved something remarkable. Something impossible.
Is it this world or the other that’s the dream? And even if the home he remembers is real, how can Jason possibly make it back to the family he loves? The answers lie in a journey more wondrous and horrifying than anything he could’ve imagined—one that will force him to confront the darkest parts of himself even as he battles a terrifying, seemingly unbeatable foe.
From the author of the bestselling Wayward Pines trilogy, Dark Matter is a brilliantly plotted tale that is at once sweeping and intimate, mind-bendingly strange and profoundly human—a relentlessly surprising science-fiction thriller about choices, paths not taken, and how far we’ll go to claim the lives we dream of.
4 out of 5 stars
Such a trippy book.
I started listening to this on audiobook way back when I was still in school because I like having something to listen to whilst walking to class, and I was intrigued and didn’t want to put it down, then the stress of the end of the school year came and I just never finished it. I listened to about 40% of it, then checked out the book from my local library when I got home. I didn’t read anything from the physical book, then checked out the ebook from the Libby app, and sped through it. Who knows lol.
I was intrigued right away by this book because I didn’t know what to truly expect. I don’t know how I consistently do this, but I always hear of a book being really great but NEVER actually know what it’s about. Yay for not being all about spoiling myself.
This book followed a crazy smart scientist named Jason. He had a great life with his wife and son, but always wondered what would have happened had he followed his more scientific pursuits instead of having a family. All is well and good until one night he’s walking home after attending a party for his friend, and he gets mugged by a man wearing a mask. The man asks him if he’s happy with his life, and after hearing Jason’s answer, makes him follow instructions and drive to an abandoned building. Once they get there, the kidnapper makes Jason take off his clothes and trade him attire, then gives him a drug in a syringe and the next thing he knows, is waking up to people welcoming him back.
So like I said earlier, this book was really fricking trippy. So many things happened that would have been so confusing to me had I read this when I was younger, but luckily I read it now because I really enjoyed it!
I wasn’t the biggest fan of the writing style, but I know that it fit the book well. I don’t think the book would have been as effective had the writing style been any different, so good job Mr. Crouch. I applaud you for that. I wonder if his other books have a similar writing style or if his great authorly skills allowed him to adapt to this new setting.
The idea of this book is one I’ve actually had a dream about before.
Having multiple versions of yourself in the same place in time and how that would happen. I, of course, have NO IDEA about any of the science behind it, but I’ve always been curious. Kind of like Hermione with the time-turner in Harry Potter. What would happen if you saw another version of yourself? Yeah, that’s right. Bad things. Really not good, but it’s an interesting thing to read and wonder about.
I’m interested in reading Blake Crouch’s new book, so maybe I’ll try and pick that up the next time I’m at the bookstore or the library!
Title: Milk and Honey
Author: Rupi Kaur
Release Date: November 4, 2014
Page Number: 204
milk and honey is a collection of poetry and prose about survival. It is about the experience of violence, abuse, love, loss, and femininity. It is split into four chapters, and each chapter serves a different purpose, deals with a different pain, heals a different heartache. milk and honey takes readers through a journey of the most bitter moments in life and finds sweetness in them because there is sweetness everywhere if you are just willing to look.
4 out of 5 stars
Oh little naive 2017 Aubrey.
I originally read this book before my painful breakup. Before I realized I was in an unhealthy relationship. Before I admitted to myself that I wasn’t happy. I didn’t understand then how beautiful and true these feelings were.
When I originally reviewed this I rated it 2 stars because I didn’t connect with any of it. I didn’t understand. I actually read part of it on my then boyfriend’s front porch. I was just naive. But that’s okay because everyone is supposed to have a point of naivety in their life, mine just lasted a little longer than it probably should have.
This book touched me and reached me so differently than the first time. I don’t really know why I was drawn to reading it for a second time because I didn’t enjoy it the first time, but I’m so glad I picked it up. I strongly believe that people won’t enjoy this unless they’ve experienced a painful heartbreak. Even if it’s you breaking up with a significant other, it’s still painful.
I know that maturity made me love this book. I now see why people love it so much.
Rupi Kaur writes about four different stages in her life: the hurting, the loving, the breaking, and the healing. The book is split into these four sections and takes a different tone for each. I related to the sections “the loving” and “the breaking” the most, but still appreciated the others.
The prose is beautifully written and easy to consume. The stories are tragic and true.
Some of my favorite poems/quotes:
what i miss most is how you loved me. but what i didn’t know was how you loved me had so much to do with the person i was. it was a reflection of everything I gave to you. coming back to me. how did i not see that. how. did i sit here soaking in the idea that no one else would love me that way. when it was i that taught you. when it was i that showed you how to fill. the way i needed to be filled. how cruel i was to myself. giving you credit for my warmth simply because you had felt it. thinking it was you who gave me strength. wit. beauty. simply because you recognized it. as if i was already not these things before i met you. as if i did not remain all these once you left.
losing you was
most importantly love
like it’s the only thing you know how
at the end of the day all this
where you’re sitting
nothing even matters
except love and human connection
who you loved
and how deeply you loved them
how you touched the people around you
and how much you gave them
FAVORITE BOOK OF THE MONTH
Title: Truly Devious (Truly Devious #1)
Author: Maureen Johnson
Release Date: January 16, 2018
Page Number: 416
Source: public library
Ellingham Academy is a famous private school in Vermont for the brightest thinkers, inventors, and artists. It was founded by Albert Ellingham, an early twentieth century tycoon, who wanted to make a wonderful place full of riddles, twisting pathways, and gardens. “A place” he said, “where learning is a game.”
Shortly after the school opened, his wife and daughter were kidnapped. The only real clue was a mocking riddle listing methods of murder, signed with the frightening pseudonym, Truly Devious. It became one of the great unsolved crimes of American history.
True-crime aficionado Stevie Bell is set to begin her first year at Ellingham Academy, and she has an ambitious plan: She will solve this cold case. That is, she will solve the case when she gets a grip on her demanding new school life and her housemates: the inventor, the novelist, the actor, the artist, and the jokester. But something strange is happening. Truly Devious makes a surprise return, and death revisits Ellingham Academy. The past has crawled out of its grave. Someone has gotten away with murder.
4 out of 5 stars
Okay. I think I’m FINALLY OUT OF MY READING SLUMP!
This is the second time I’ve read this book because I REALLY wanted to continue on with the series, but didn’t really remember what happened, and I think I liked it even more the second time.
Truly Devious follows Stevie trying to actually solve the Ellingham case from the 1930s. Two people died, and one is still technically missing. Stevie is obsessed with detective work and she loves true crime, so when she got accepted to the Ellingham school she dove into trying to learn more and solve the case.
Super cool concept, and it was executed SO WELL.
I forgot how much I love rereading books, and I was a little concerned because I haven’t ever reread a mystery, but it’s so cool to see all the clues when they’re happening! I also remembered way more than I thought I would, but it was great because then I could follow along easily with what I remembered.
I’m so excited to see where the second book goes, and I’m actually going to start it right after I finish writing this. This book set up the next so well.
Title: Small Graces: The Quiet Gifts of Everyday Life
Author: Kent Nerburn
Release Date: March 16, 1998
Publisher: New World Library
Page Number: 128
Source: borrowed from friend
In twenty elegant pieces, writer, sculptor, and theologian Kent Nerburn celebrates the daily rituals that reveal our deeper truths.
A companion piece to Kent Nerburn’s book Simple Truths, Small Graces is a journey into the sacred moments that illuminate our everyday lives. Through the exploration of simple acts, he reminds us to chart a course each day that nourishes the soul, honors the body, and engages the mind.
Small Graces asks us to observe life’s quiet rhythms, the subtle shifts in perception and changes in light, the warm comfort of family voices; to feel the blessing of birdsong, the solitude of a falling leaf, the echo of footfall in snow-covered woods. By inviting us to recognize the hidden power of the ordinary, Small Graces reveals the mystical alchemy of the mundane made profound by the artistry of a well-lived life.
2 out of 5 stars
Maybe I’m just in a weird reading mood, but I didn’t really get anything from this book.
I think theres something beautiful to be said about the small moments in life, I really do, but I also think the beauty in them is getting to see them for yourself. I feel like this was trying to be a guidebook on how to see the world. I also kept thinking “there’s no way this man actually feels these things as often as he does.”
There were some things that I resonated with. The section about family and how it’s weird and beautiful and cool that you choose a spouse or partner, and the family is chosen for you. I agree, it was cool. The rest was just kinda ehh for me.
I think the thought was there and the meaning was nice, but I just don’t really see the point in this being a book….
Title: Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2)
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Release Date: September 20, 2016
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company
Page Number: 560
Kaz Brekker and his crew of deadly outcasts have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn’t think they’d survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they’re right back to fighting for their lives.
Double-crossed and badly weakened, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz’s cunning and test the team’s fragile loyalties.
A war will be waged on the city’s dark and twisting streets – a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of the Grisha world.
3 out of 5 stars
Crooked Kingdom, second book in the Six of Crows duology, follows the misfit crew of Kaz, Inej, Nina, Matthias, Wylan, Jesper, and Kuwei as they unveil secrets, devise intricate and delicate plans, and ruin lives.
I don’t know what it was about this book, but I’m honestly a little disappointed. The writing style is great; a little too detailed for my taste at moments, but still nice. I love the intricacies of the characters. They’re all unique and interesting with well-thought-out back stories.
I think what bothered me about this book was the amount unspoken. I love trying to figure out what happened and why while I’m reading, but I don’t think there were enough clues given to be able to fully understand what was happening before it was explicitly stated. It’s a given that Kaz will come up with crazy plans, but sometimes it would be nice to be in on the secret before it has to be stated. I feel like there was a lot of telling and not showing throughout this book. There was NO WAY to possibly understand every nuance before it was explicitly stated, and that kind of bothered me. Yes, it’s awesome to read about a great plan, but it’s not as satisfying if you don’t get to see how it all unfolds.
The ending was SO UNSATISFACTORY. I knew something was going to happen to someone right at the end, but it just doesn’t really make a ton of sense. It seemed more like a plot device and less like an intentional choice.
Also, where the heck is the romance.
All I wanted was for some romance from these characters who OBVIOUSLY loved each other, and we barely got anything! What’s up with that? I understand this is YA, but why was the number of romantic scenes less than fingers I have on one hand? All I wanted was some cute romance. Again, I think there was too much left to the imagination.
It’s just weird because I really did enjoy a lot of this book, but overall I think my feelings were pretty “okay” about it. I just don’t understand why we couldn’t have had a real romance.
Jesper and Wylan could have EASILY been together for more than half the book. The ending with Kaz and Inej… why not more than that? He never even TOLD Inej about why he hates skin on skin contact. She spilled her heart to him and he couldn’t do the same. I’m just confused.
I see why a lot of people like this duology, but I think the first book was much stronger than this one.
Title: Six of Crows (Six of Crows #1)
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Release Date: September 29, 2015
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company
Page Number: 462
Source: Barnes and Noble
Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone. . . .
A convict with a thirst for revenge
A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager
A runaway with a privileged past
A spy known as the Wraith
A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums
A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes
Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.
4 out of 5 stars
I totally understand the hype. I get it. I’m part of it.
Six of Crows follows a group of 6 criminals tasked with breaking a very important man out of prison, but not just any prison… the most well secured prison there is. They have to work together despite their differences, and if they succeed, they’ll be rich beyond their wildest dreams. Some of this infamous band of thieves are called Grisha, who are people with magical powers that are able to be honed and used for either good or evil.
Six individuals. Six very different lives. Thousands of opportunities to fail. Can they complete the mission?
This book REALLY wanted to be a 5 star book for me, and it was almost there. It was still a really great book, but I think life stuff took over a little bit for me and it was kind of hard to focus on what was actually happening in my life, so my reading took a backseat. I am very happy to announce that I am now out of my reading slump! And I can give credit to this book yay thanks Leigh Bardugo.
Anyway, enough of the tangents.
I seriously LOVED theses characters. I loved their depth and complexity and how the whole book lends itself to being morally very grey, so it makes you wonder about each one of the characters. Every character is different and has a unique, very complex and detailed, backstory that just adds so much to the book. I also really enjoyed the multiple perspectives a lot. I honestly have felt like I prefer from one POV my whole life, but after this book I can totally totally totally see the draw for having multiple perspectives. I loved getting to see into each of the characters and learn more about their backstories.
Now here’s the deal. There is SO. MUCH. ROMANTIC. TENSION. IN. THIS. BOOK. I’m not saying sexual tension because no one actually got together… yet. I know it has to happen in the second book, but the set up for all the relationships? AMAZING.
These are spoilers ahead so if you don’t want to be spoiled *I promise you don’t* then come back again. Hope you enjoyed your time here, thanks byeeeee.
I’m going to break this next section into the (potential) couples and talk about them a little individually.
Kaz and Inej – Kaz is such a broken sad-boy, but he’s also super strong and cares so much, he just doesn’t know how to show it. He wants to love Inej, and he realizes that he truly does have feelings for her, but doesn’t know how to tell her. Inej has been falling for Kaz since day one, but he’s such a mystery that you can’t really blame her for not trying to pursue him seriously. I love that Kaz told Inej to stay in Ketterdam and even though she’s loved him for FOREVER she stayed strong and didn’t let herself be whisked away by his words. You go, Inej! I am kind of pissed that Kaz didn’t go after Inej at the end…. there will definitely be something about that and I’m predicting that Crooked Kingdom will start off with her.
Jesper and Wylan – I don’t know what it is, but I’m ALWAYS a sucker for a non-heterosexual relationship, and one is brewing here between Jesper and Wylan. I think I just see that love is love no matter what *honest opinion, it’s okay if you don’t agree* and it’s so cute seeing these two interact. I’m rooting for this relationship so much and I’m going to be really salty if it isn’t carried out well in the next book.
Nina and Matthias – Okay, I lied. There is definitely some sexual tension in this relationship. They’re not supposed to want each other, but they literally can’t help themselves. Even after everything that they’ve gone through, they NEED each other. Nina is going through some hard stuff at the end of this book because she sacrifices herself for the group (Matthias) and just wants everything to work out so she and Matthias can maul each other later, but we do get a very passionate kiss scene from them. Yay living vicariously through book relationships lol. I was SHOOK when Matthias seemingly betrayed Nina. Oh man I was pissed. But no worries, it all worked out within a few chapters, but you should have seen me furiously flipping the pages.
I love all the characters because, like I said, they’re all so complex and unique. Their backstories are so cool and that’s part of what makes this book so great. There is a depth to this book that is missing with a lot within the young adult genre.
If you can’t tell, I really did like this book, and I am SO EXCITED to read Crooked Kingdom. I’ve heard that it only gets better! I do think that I will reread this duology in the future because I think theres still more to unpack from this book. If you like fantasy, you should read this. You won’t be disappointed!