Thursday Quotables: Poison or Protect

quotation-marks4

Welcome back to Thursday Quotables! This weekly feature is the place to highlight a great quote, line, or passage discovered during your reading each week.  Whether it’s something funny, startling, gut-wrenching, or just really beautifully written, Thursday Quotables is where my favorite lines of the week will be, and you’re invited to join in!

NEW! Thursday Quotables is now using a Linky tool! Be sure to add your link if you have a Thursday Quotables post to share.

poison-or-protect

Poison or Protect by Gail Carriger
(published 2016)

A steamy, definitely-for-adults novella from Gail Carriger’s supernatural/steampunk world — great fun!

She was like opiates — expensive, intoxicating, and deadly in large doses.

And another little sample:

She had acquired female friends before, but in the manner by which she acquired pierced ears (necessary for her image and to prove to the world that she could).

What lines made you laugh, cry, or gasp this week? Do tell!

If you’d like to participate in Thursday Quotables, it’s really simple:

  • Write a Thursday Quotables post on your blog. Try to pick something from whatever you’re reading now. And please be sure to include a link back to Bookshelf Fantasies in your post (http://www.bookshelffantasies.com), if you’d be so kind!
  • Click on the linky button (look for the cute froggie face) below to add your link.
  • After you link up, I’d love it if you’d leave a comment about my quote for this week.
  • Be sure to visit other linked blogs to view their Thursday Quotables, and have fun!

Shelf Control #62: Darwin’s Radio

Shelves final

Welcome to the newest weekly feature here at Bookshelf Fantasies… Shelf Control!

Shelf Control is all about the books we want to read — and already own! Consider this a variation of a Wishing & Waiting post… but looking at books already available, and in most cases, sitting right there on our shelves and e-readers.

Want to join in? See the guidelines and linky at the bottom of the post, and jump on board! Let’s take control of our shelves!

cropped-flourish-31609_1280-e1421474289435.png

My Shelf Control pick this week is:

darwins-radioTitle: Darwin’s Radio
Author: Greg Bear
Published: 1999
Length: 430 pages

What it’s about (synopsis via Goodreads):

“Virus hunter” Christopher Dicken is a man on a mission, following a trail of rumors, government cover-ups, and dead bodies around the globe in search of a mysterious disease that strikes only pregnant women and invariably results in miscarriage. But when Dicken finds what he’s looking for, the answer proves to be stranger—and far deadlier—than he ever could have imagined. Something that has slept in human DNA for millions of years is waking up.

Molecular biologist Kaye Lang has spent her career tracing ancient retroviruses in the human genome. She believes these microscopic fossils can come to life again. But when Dicken’s discovery becomes public, Lang’s theory suddenly turns to chilling fact. As the outbreak of this terrifying disease threatens to become a deadly epidemic, Dicken and Lang must race against time to assemble the pieces of a puzzle only they are equipped to solve—an evolutionary puzzle that will determine the future of the human race . . . if a future exists at all.

How I got it:

I bought it.

When I got it:

Gosh. No idea. Ages ago.

Why I want to read it:

Every once in a while, I’m in the mood for good medical sci-fi, and this sounds chilling and awful, which potentially means a great read. I’ve heard good things, so I really do need to take this one off the shelf finally.

__________________________________

Want to participate in Shelf Control? Here’s how:

  • Write a blog post about a book that you own that you haven’t read yet.
  • Add your link below!
  • And if you’d be so kind, I’d appreciate a link back from your own post.
  • Check out other posts, and have fun!

For more on why I’ve started Shelf Control, check out my introductory post here, or read all about my out-of-control book inventory, here.

And if you’d like to post a Shelf Control button on your own blog, here’s an image to download (with my gratitude, of course!):

Shelf Control

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten New-To-Me Authors I Read In 2016

snowy10

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, featuring a different top 10 theme each week. This week’s topic is Top Ten New-To-Me Authors I Read In 2016. I love this topic! I “met” so many authors this year for the first time. Here are my top 10:

Note: If you want to know more about any of the books mentioned here, click on the links to see my reviews.

1) Blake Crouch: I thought Dark Matter was amazing!

Dark Matter

2) Shirley Barrett: Author of Rush Oh!, a book that proves that reading about whaling in early 20th century Australia can be loads of fun!

Rush Oh

3) Seré Prince Halverson: All the Winters After was one of my favorite books of 2016.

All the Winters After

4) Fredrik Backman: I know, I know — A Man Called Ove got so much buzz this year… and I have to admit, it lives up to the hype!
man-called-ove

5) Christina Baker Kline: I finally read Orphan Train with my book group, and thought it was wonderful. I look forward to reading more by this author.

orphan-train

6) Amy Stewart: Girl Waits With Gun was one of my favorites this year, and I can’t wait to read the sequel, Lady Cop Makes Trouble.

girl-waits-with-gun

7) Sally Hepworth: The Things We Keep was such a sad but lovely book. I have the author’s previous novel, The Secrets of Midwives, on my TBR, so that’s one that I’ll need to make a priority in the new year.

The Things We Keep

8) Amy Schumer: Does Amy Schumer count? I’ve enjoyed her comedy for years, and had a blast with her book, The Girl With The Lower Back Tattoo.
amy-schumer

9) Sylvain Neuvel: I thought Sleeping Giants was so inventive! I can’t wait for the next book.
sleeping giants

10) Laura Barnett: The Versions of Us is a great take on the Sliding Doors style of storytelling. What if things went one way instead of the other? This book explores the different possible outcomes of a chance meeting and how people’s lives veer off into unexpected directions. Loved it.

versions2

I can’t wait to see who I’ll meet in 2017!

Which authors did you discover in 2016? Please leave me your link!

If you enjoyed this post, please consider following Bookshelf Fantasies! And don’t forget to check out our regular weekly features, Shelf Control and Thursday Quotables. Happy reading!

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Do you host a book blog meme? Do you participate in a meme that you really, really love? I’m building a Book Blog Meme Directory, and need your help! If you know of a great meme to include — or if you host one yourself — please drop me a note on my Contact page and I’ll be sure to add your info!

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The Monday Check-In ~ 12/5/2016

cooltext1850356879 My Monday tradition, including a look back and a look ahead — what I read last week, what new books came my way, and what books are keeping me busy right now. Plus a smattering of other stuff too.

Life.

I am one proud mama! I attended my amazing daughter’s grad school graduation this weekend. She’s a smart, dedicated, loving, funny, quirky, intelligent woman, and I couldn’t be more impressed and proud of her accomplishments!

What did I read last week?

man-called-oveforever-interrupted

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman: What a delight! My review is here.

Forever, Interrupted by Taylor Jenkins Reid: Beautiful and heartbreaking. My review is here.

Fresh Catch:

No new books this week… although I did indulge in Cyber Week sales by picking up several marked-down Kindle and Audible titles!

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:
 05-the-black-moon

The Black Moon by Winston Graham: Continuing with my Poldark obsession — this is book #5 in the series.

Now playing via audiobook:

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No idea! I finished my last audiobook while I was away, and haven’t had a chance to start a new one. I’ve added bunches to my Audible library recently, so maybe I’ll just choose at random!

Ongoing reads:

MOBYFarewell to Arms 2

My ongoing reads with my book group (2 chapters per week of each):

  • Written in My Own Heart’s Blood by Diana Gabaldon
  • A Farewell To Arms by Ernest Hemingway

So many books, so little time…

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Take A Peek Book Review: Forever, Interrupted

“Take a Peek” book reviews are short and (possibly) sweet, keeping the commentary brief and providing a little peek at what the book’s about and what I thought.

forever-interrupted

Synopsis:

(via Goodreads)

Elsie Porter is an average twentysomething and yet what happens to her is anything but ordinary. On a rainy New Year’s Day, she heads out to pick up a pizza for one. She isn’t expecting to see anyone else in the shop, much less the adorable and charming Ben Ross. Their chemistry is instant and electric. Ben cannot even wait twenty-four hours before asking to see her again. Within weeks, the two are head over heels in love. By May, they’ve eloped.

Only nine days later, Ben is out riding his bike when he is hit by a truck and killed on impact. Elsie hears the sirens outside her apartment, but by the time she gets downstairs, he has already been whisked off to the emergency room. At the hospital, she must face Susan, the mother-in-law she has never met and who doesn’t even know Elsie exists.

Interweaving Elsie and Ben’s charmed romance with Elsie and Susan’s healing process, Forever, Interrupted will remind you that there’s more than one way to find a happy ending.

 

My Thoughts:

Get ready for heartbreak.

Seriously. This books picks up your heart and smashes it into little bits within the first few pages. We start with newlyweds Ben and Elsie reveling in the simple joys of a lazy day as husband and wife, and within moments, Ben is dead and Elsie is left alone, devastated, and unwilling to even imagine her life without Ben in it.

The book alternates between Elsie’s life after Ben’s death and chapters focusing on how Elsie and Ben met and fell head over heels in love. Their love story is sparkling and fresh, but carries with it the knowledge of tragedy looming. Meanwhile, in the present, Elsie is forced to figure out how to deal with incessant grief and to confront a life without the man she intended to build her future with. By opening herself up to Ben’s mother Susan, she is able to understand the magnitude of love, whether in a marriage that lasts days or years, and what life can still hold once that love is gone.

Forever, Interrupted is a lovely, powerful look at unexpected love and loss, and the families we find along the way.

Also by this author:
Maybe In Another Life
One True Loves

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The details:

Title: Forever, Interrupted
Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid
Publisher: Washington Square Press
Publication date: July 9, 2013
Length: 352 pages
Genre: Contemporary fiction
Source: Library

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Take A Peek Book Review: A Man Called Ove

“Take a Peek” book reviews are short and (possibly) sweet, keeping the commentary brief and providing a little peek at what the book’s about and what I thought.

man-called-ove

Synopsis:

(via Goodreads)

A grumpy yet loveable man finds his solitary world turned on its head when a boisterous young family moves in next door.

Meet Ove. He’s a curmudgeon, the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him the bitter neighbor from hell, but must Ove be bitter just because he doesn’t walk around with a smile plastered to his face all the time?

Behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. So when one November morning a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove’s mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpected friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul. All of which will change one cranky old man and a local residents’ association to their very foundations.

 

My Thoughts:

I really enjoyed A Man Called Ove, especially as I moved further into the story. At the outset, it felt almost too familiar — yet another grumpy old man who finds a new lease on life thanks to the interference of quirky neighbors; a man who finds it harder and harder to maintain his isolation and bitterness, despite his best efforts. 

And yes, there is that, but there are greater depths as well, as we learn more about Ove’s earlier life and what’s actually going on in his head and his heart. With each layer of the past revealed, we get a deeper insight into the secret joys and sorrows of Ove’s life, and come to understand why he’s ended up where he is when we first meet him.

Again, the cast of supporting characters seems a bit familiar — the old friend, the overly friendly and overweight young man next door, the extremely persistent pregnant woman with a hapless husband… and the bedraggled, homeless cat who ends up being the key to breaking through Ove’s outer shell. Still, despite feeling like I’ve read variations of this story before, by the end I was hopelessly caught up in the emotional impact of the story and very much invested in Ove and his ragtag gang of neighbors and partners in crime, so to speak.

I had one small quibble — it was a little disconcerting to reconcile Ove’s age (59) with the description of him as being old and curmudgeonly. If we weren’t explicitly told his age, I would have put him at least another 20 years older.

That said, A Man Called Ove is a delightful read. I got through about 2/3 via audiobook before switching to print, simply because I was traveling and didn’t have a way to listen. The audiobook was quite fun (and taught me how to pronounce Ove’s name — it’s OO-va.) Either way, I have no problem recommending this book to anyone who enjoys quirky, unpredictable characters — but be warned: You must be okay with having your heart melted too.

I definitely want to read more by this author!

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The details:

Title: A Man Called Ove
Author: Fredrik Backman (translated from the Swedish by Henning Koch)
Publisher: Atria
Publication date: 2012
Length: 337 pages
Genre: Contemporary fiction
Source: Purchased

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Thursday Quotables: The Sun Is Also A Star

quotation-marks4

Welcome back to Thursday Quotables! This weekly feature is the place to highlight a great quote, line, or passage discovered during your reading each week.  Whether it’s something funny, startling, gut-wrenching, or just really beautifully written, Thursday Quotables is where my favorite lines of the week will be, and you’re invited to join in!

NEW! Thursday Quotables is now using a Linky tool! Be sure to add your link if you have a Thursday Quotables post to share.

sun-is-also-a-star

The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon
(published 2016)

There was so much lovely writing in this new YA novel. Here’s a little snippet:

“You can’t really be falling for me,” she says, quieter now. Her voice is somewhere between distress and disbelief.

Again I don’t have anything to say. Even I’m surprised by how much I’ve been feeling for her all day. The thing about falling is you don’t have any control on your way down.

Check out my review of this new release!

What lines made you laugh, cry, or gasp this week? Do tell!

If you’d like to participate in Thursday Quotables, it’s really simple:

  • Write a Thursday Quotables post on your blog. Try to pick something from whatever you’re reading now. And please be sure to include a link back to Bookshelf Fantasies in your post (http://www.bookshelffantasies.com), if you’d be so kind!
  • Click on the linky button (look for the cute froggie face) below to add your link.
  • After you link up, I’d love it if you’d leave a comment about my quote for this week.
  • Be sure to visit other linked blogs to view their Thursday Quotables, and have fun!

Shelf Control #61: The Borrower

Shelves final

Welcome to the newest weekly feature here at Bookshelf Fantasies… Shelf Control!

Shelf Control is all about the books we want to read — and already own! Consider this a variation of a Wishing & Waiting post… but looking at books already available, and in most cases, sitting right there on our shelves and e-readers.

Want to join in? See the guidelines and linky at the bottom of the post, and jump on board! Let’s take control of our shelves!

cropped-flourish-31609_1280-e1421474289435.png

My Shelf Control pick this week is:

the-borrowerTitle: The Borrower
Author: Rebecca Makkai
Published: 2011
Length: 324 pages

What it’s about (synopsis via Goodreads):

In this delightful, funny, and moving first novel, a librarian and a young boy obsessed with reading take to the road.

Lucy Hull, a young children’s librarian in Hannibal, Missouri, finds herself both a kidnapper and kidnapped when her favorite patron, ten- year-old Ian Drake, runs away from home. The precocious Ian is addicted to reading, but needs Lucy’s help to smuggle books past his overbearing mother, who has enrolled Ian in weekly antigay classes with celebrity Pastor Bob. Lucy stumbles into a moral dilemma when she finds Ian camped out in the library after hours with a knapsack of provisions and an escape plan. Desperate to save him from Pastor Bob and the Drakes, Lucy allows herself to be hijacked by Ian. The odd pair embarks on a crazy road trip from Missouri to Vermont, with ferrets, an inconvenient boyfriend, and upsetting family history thrown in their path. But is it just Ian who is running away? Who is the man who seems to be on their tail? And should Lucy be trying to save a boy from his own parents?

How I got it:

I bought it.

When I got it:

In 2014, when Rebecca Makkai’s more recent novel, The Hundred-Year House, was released

Why I want to read it:

I read reviews of The Hundred-Year House and thought it sounds like something I’d enjoy. When I looked up the author on Goodreads, I saw that a few of my reliable book friends had very positive reviews of The Borrower too… so I bought them both! I always love books about books and books about librarians, so The Borrower seems like a definite win for me.

__________________________________

Want to participate in Shelf Control? Here’s how:

  • Write a blog post about a book that you own that you haven’t read yet.
  • Add your link below!
  • And if you’d be so kind, I’d appreciate a link back from your own post.
  • Check out other posts, and have fun!

For more on why I’ve started Shelf Control, check out my introductory post here, or read all about my out-of-control book inventory, here.

And if you’d like to post a Shelf Control button on your own blog, here’s an image to download (with my gratitude, of course!):

Shelf Control

The Monday Check-In ~ 11/28/2016

cooltext1850356879 My Monday tradition, including a look back and a look ahead — what I read last week, what new books came my way, and what books are keeping me busy right now. Plus a smattering of other stuff too.

What did I read last week?

04-warleggansun-is-also-a-starfantastic-beasts

I read some great books — but just haven’t been in the mood to sit down and write reviews for all of them. But here’s a quick look at my past week:

Warleggan by Winston Graham: Book #4 of the fabulous Poldark series, which I read just in time for the season finale of the PBS show. I’d planned to only read enough of the series to keep up with the show… but now I’m dying to know what happens next.

The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon: This YA novel is sweet, fast-paced, and deeply emotional, as we spend one fateful day with two 17-year-olds who meet, fall in love, and then are forced to part. Definitely recommended. My review is here.

Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them: The Original Screenplay by J. K. Rowling: I read this after seeing the movie, and now I need to see the movie again!

Pop culture goodness:

There’s nothing like Thanksgiving week for seeing movies — my kids and I saw two:

fantastic-beasts

… and …

moana

We loved them both!

Fresh Catch:

All sorts of goodies!

I caved and bought myself the next two books in the Poldark series:

05-the-black-moon 06-the-four-swans

The Outlander novella Virgins was released in the UK as a slim hardcover (available in the US as an e-book or part of an anthology only). Naturally, I decided I deserved a present — from me to me.

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To top it all off, the library’s used bookstore had a Thanksgiving week sale for members, and I just couldn’t stay away.

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What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:
 forever-interrupted

Forever, Interrupted by Taylor Jenkins Reid: I’ve only read the first couple of chapters, which are HEART-BREAKING. I hope the whole thing won’t be this sad. I don’t think I can stand to have puffy eyes all week!

Now playing via audiobook:

man-called-ove

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman: I started this one last week, and should be finished by the end of this week. Enjoyable, although somehow it feels very familiar.

Ongoing reads:

MOBYFarewell to Arms 2

My ongoing reads with my book group (2 chapters per week of each):

  • Written in My Own Heart’s Blood by Diana Gabaldon
  • A Farewell To Arms by Ernest Hemingway

So many books, so little time…

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Book Review: The Sun Is Also A Star

sun-is-also-a-star

Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.

Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.

The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?

This second novel by the author of Everything, Everything (review) lives up to expectations for great, engaging writing and unconventional teen characters. The Sun Is Also A Star is a “one special day” kind of novel — you know the type I mean: The two main characters are thrown together unexpectedly, and the entire storyline shows the trajectory of these two strangers becoming much, much more over the course of one unforgettable day.

The twist here is that the day should have been a totally crappy one for both characters. Natasha is making a last-ditch effort to keep from being deported back to her native Jamaica, after living in New York since the age of eight. Daniel is heading off to a college admission interview, following his parents’ carefully laid-out plans for him to attend Yale and become a doctor, despite the fact that his real passion is for poetry. When Natasha and Daniel meet, there’s instant chemisty, and the two bond and connect in all sorts of earth-shattering ways, even though the clock is ticking and there’s almost no chance that they’ll have more than just this one day.

I liked the story very much, although I found the little side stories (the lawyer having an affair with the paralegal, the security guard on the verge of suicide, and more) to be distracting, rather than enhancing the story. On top of that, the entire premise requires a big leap of faith, particularly if we’re to believe that Natasha would have the emotional bandwidth to even consider getting to know Daniel on what’s likely her last day in the country. Still, I suppose the point is to show the unintended consequences of all the chance occurrences that occur each day — is it random, or is it fate? Natasha is scientific, and Daniel is romantic, but by the end of the day, they do find common ground and understanding.

Bonus points to the author for the diversity of her cast of characters and the diversity of the neighborhoods and economic statuses shown throughout the story. It’s refreshing to read a love story where the main characters don’t fit easily into typical cookie cutter profiles.

The Sun Is Also A Star is an emotionally rich story, and if  you can buy into the idea of a girl who’s about to be deported also having time to ride the subway all over Manhattan and beyond with the cute boy who just stumbled into her life… well, then you’ll certainly enjoy this book.

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The details:

Title: The Sun Is Also A Star
Author: Nicola Yoon
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication date: November 1, 2016
Length: 344 pages
Genre: Young adult contemporary fiction
Source: Library

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