review

A Heart in a Body in the World || Review

Rating: 5/5

A Heart in a Body in the World is about Annabelle, a girl who has experienced a horrific trauma. One day, fed up, she takes off running- and she doesn’t stop. It blooms into a plan: run from Washington State, to Washington D.C. 2,700 miles. Followed by her adorable grandfather in his RV for support and a place to sleep.

I read a few other reviews of this novel, specifically the negative ones. One thing that stood out is that people saw Annabelle as literally running away from her problems. Now, I just didn’t see this. AT. ALL. Did we read a different book? Through Annabelle, I’d argue we learn that you can’t run from your problems because they live inside our heads. Every day, running, left with only her thoughts, she’s left to replay the events leading up to that night. I think running gave her the opportunity to process what has happened to her, and come to terms with it. From the beginning she knew there would be an end to her run where she would go back to her life and have to deal with the aftermath everything- there was no escaping it, was no running away forever. The way Caletti was able to portray this this process of grief and overcoming was beyond powerful.

Without spoiling too much, because I think it’s better to go into without knowing what Annabelle has experienced, this book delves into a woman’s right to say “no” and how sometimes that right can put her in very real danger. If you’ve ever known anybody who’s acted like they are owed you, you’re time, or attention this book will scream to your experiences. You will feel for Annabelle when she feels she has to act polite despite unwanted attention. And you will hate society for engraving the concept of politeness into women, and the fear of being seen as a Bitch.

Obviously, I was a huge fan of this book. It broke my heart, it made me cry, and it was so so relevant. The side characters were all adorable; there’s even a little side story for the grandfather that just made my heart happy (it was kind of a light in all the dark). Her brother supportive, and the people she meets along the way help propel her forward. Now, if violence triggers you, then I’d probably stay away from this one. There’s a scene toward the end of the book that’s very violent when it’s finally revealed exactly what has happened. But I’m not going to give away more than that, so if you’re iffy go on Goodreads and there are some reviews that’ll have the triggers listed prominently. But, if you think you can handle it please go into it mostly blind- and pick it up immediately!

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review

The Vegetarian by Han Kang || Review

None of the blurbs truly sum up what this book is about. If you’re thinking this is just a book about a woman that becomes vegetarian and deals with backlash, it’s not. 9781101906118
I found a lot of things to be confusing other to be extremely raw and beautiful. The pacing felt slow to me, and it took quite a while for me to get through the mere 200 pages. Through the novel, you see the perspective of three different people all somehow related to the “vegetarian”. But the story isn’t about the woman’s vegetarianism but more about nature and animal instincts.
Basically, it wasn’t what I was expecting. I found the characters to be annoying and I found myself unable to relate with any of them. There were some truly profound pieces to it but not enough to win me over. This book doesn’t follow the story of a woman and her vegetarianism but instead it follows a woman and her insanity.
I wanted so badly to give this book a good rating but it was only a 2.5/5 star read for me. I feel like if I want back and read it again that rating could move up to a 3 but not beyond that.
*Disclaimer: I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.*
review

Vinegar Girl || Review

Ever wonder what some of Shakespeare’s works would look like if they took place today? Hogarth’s Shakespeare project does just that by pairing popular authors with some of Shakespeare’s most famous works to write their modern take on the story.

Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler is just one example. A modern retelling of The Taming of the Shrew, Vinegar Girl tells the story of Kate Battista and her family. Much like the original Kate is a feisty and no nonsense. The story centers around the trouble her scientist father encounters when his assistant is about to be deported and his plan to stop it. The only plan that makes sense of course, Kate will have to marry him.

I thought it was a decent story. It was kind of disappointing to see how Kate lost some of her original self throughout the novel. And the love interest was just, very unfavorable and boring. Anne Tyler’s writing was great and it was a fast read but just a little anti-climatic. If you were a fan of the original story, this is a great re-telling, it just had some things to be desired.

Thanks for reading,

Baylee

Check out the Hogarth Project here.

**Disclaimer: I received this book in exchange for an honest review!**

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Interview || Taylor Hondos, Author of Antidote

If you’ve read my most recent blog post you were able to read my opinion of Taylor Hondos’ book Antidote (if not check it out here). I was also lucky enough for the opportunity to ask Taylor some questions!  She was sweet enough to give some great answers.

Q: Do you have a preferred writing climate? Do you listen to music? Have a specific drink or snack while you write? Etc.

A: I do have a writing climate. I love to write in the dead of the night. It has to be after 11pm, it has to be in my room. I don’t know how weird that makes me! I always listen to music. I have a playlist for each book that I write. Sometimes I listen to soundtrack scores if I don’t want to start singing along to some of my favorite songs. I don’t write and snack. I hate getting crumbs on my keyboard! As far as drinks go, coffee is always a true friend to me(:

Q: What inspires/drives you to write? What is your favorite part about writing?

A: I love to write. That is my drive, it makes me so happy. When I was a young girl, I would stay up and write poems or short stories. I would get in the floor, beside my nightlight, and just write until I could not keep my eyes open. My favorite part about writing is getting to tell stories. I get to use my creativity and I love it. Words just flow out of me and it makes me feel like I have found my place in this big world.

Q: What is something that you would like to tell readers about Antidote?

A: Antidote is about our world falling apart. A deadly disease is going around, and a man with a thirst for power means to destroy everything we hold dear. In Antidote, you never know who is telling the truth. If we were faced with a deadly sickness that spread throughout the entire world, what would we do? I wrote this book to discover what power can do and how harmful it can be.

Q: Of all of the apocalypse theories which one would you prefer: horrible disease, zombies, or nuclear war? Why?

A: Can I pick none!!? If I had to choose, I would pick zombies… I would pick zombies because perhaps there would be a cure? In the mean time, I have a fighting chance. I might die but at least I could fight for my life in some way. After writing Antidote, I know that a horrible disease could kill me before a cure ever would come. Plus if it was anything like Dermadecatis (disease in Antidote) I don’t want my skin rotting off. Nuclear War…. there is no chance of survival…. Zombies all the way

I just want to say thanks one more time to Taylor for answering my questions and letting me interview her. It really was my pleasure.

Thanks for reading,

Baylee

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review

Antidote || Review

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Imagine: the world is plagued with a disease that is rotting people from the inside out,what would you do? I tried to answer this question while reading, but I struggled with the answer. I like to think that I would fight to find a cure, but it’s easy to say that when there isn’t a rotting disease at your door step. In Antidote by Taylor Hondos that isn’t the case.

Antidote follows the characters, Lena and Jared, as they search for the cure to such a disease called  Dermadecatis. I found the book to be thrilling, making you wonder what is going to happen each step of the way. Every page has you questioning who to trust and the characters’ true motives.

This was a fast read that I genuinely enjoyed it; I was able to finish in one sitting. If you’re looking for something to entertain you then I would read this book because it really is a page turner. After I finished reading I immediately wanted another book so I could discover the rest of the story.

There were some things I didn’t enjoy. Many of the YA tropes were involved in Antidote, such as insta-love and I’m-not-like-other-girls syndrome. So, you kind of have to roll your eyes and get over that to enjoy the book, which can be a little difficult at times. It’s rather in your face.  I didn’t think that it was literary genius but I could see some strong points for it as well. This was probably around a 3/5 star read for me.

That said, I am truly looking forward to reading more of this story. I wish I had more than just the one book right now. Each of the characters truly interest me and I need to know more of their backstories. I love that you really have to try to figure everyone out. You do get two points-of-view throughout the novel, so you get a little better idea of what they’re thinking but some things are still rather uncertain. Especially the side characters. Sometimes I loved them, other times I seriously questioned them.

Like I said, this was only a 3-star read but I have faith in a possible sequel. I think Hondos did a great job capturing the dilemma at hand and I think she’s truly great at capturing the world she’s built. In a sequel I hope to see some work done on the actual writing and maybe ridding the story of some of those pesky tropes.

I feel like at this point it’s difficult to judge without having more to the series. I feel like with more it could be truly great but at this point it’s just average. I’d like to see what more Taylor Hondos can do.

You can get your own copy here! And check out my interview with Hondos here!

Have a great rest of the week everyone,

Baylee

Disclaimer: I received Antidote in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

review

The Happiness of Pursuit

There are 193 countries in the world, and Chris Guillebeau has been to every single one. It was a quest that would take him 10 years to complete but he found it well worth it. His book, The Happiness of Pursuit takes a look at the ideas behind quest-taking and life fulfillment.

9780385348867Guillebeau has interviewed people around the globe who have each undertaken their own personal quests, ranging from a man who walked across the United States to a woman that cooked a meal from every country. Some of these stories will certainly intrigue you but the book’s true purpose is to motivate you.

Yep, when it comes down to motivation this book does the trick. It gets you thinking about what would happen if your pursued your own “what ifs”. Could I really do it? What would it take? When should I start?

Chris provides countless advice backed up by anecdotes from those who’ve undertaken their own what ifs. And at times it’s just the push you might be looking for. He quotes photographer Thomas Hawk’s manifesto, “As slow as time can be it is also fast, swift, furious, and mighty and then it’s over.” Which got me reaching for a pad of paper and a pen to start thinking about what I’d need to undertake my own quest.

If you’re looking for some motivation, some advice on a crazy idea you’re thinking of starting, or simply enjoy reading about the crazy things other people have done then this book is for you.

I found that at times I wanted to hear more in-depth accounts of  peoples stories rather than hear tidbits that related to advice and I was disappointed when I didn’t get that. I would have loved to hear more accounts from the author’s own travel experience as well -I’m sure those stories would make for a more interesting read. But I pushed past that and realized that the purpose of the book was the inspire the reader to get up and create their own story not just to amuse them with others’.

Another thing I found perplexing was the perspective that Guillebeau seemed to portray that ‘everything you’ve ever wanted is possible for everyone’. The concepts these books portray relate to the fourth and fifth tiers of Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs- which to be realistic, isn’t where everyone is in life. I found myself upset that Chris never seemed to acknowledge his own privilege.

That aside, in the end I found it deserving of a 3.5/5 stars. The book did what it set out to do and was also entertaining, leaving me with many interesting individuals to look up. Now, all that’s left to think about is: So, what if I really did take that six month road-trip to every state in the US?
Enjoy the rest of your week everyone!

Chris has published 3 other books! Learn more about him here and more about the book here!

Disclaimer: I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

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33% Of June || Update

Hello there everyone!

Today, is about 33% of the way through June and I thought I’d do a little progress report on where I’m at with my reading, writing, and booktubing.

So far this month I have read a total of 3 books- Two novels and one graphic novel. 2 of those books were from my June TBR. And one of my June TBR books I ended up DNFing after 15 pages because it gave me a headache. So far I am on track for my summer reading goal and ahead of schedule for my 2016 goal.

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For the most part I have remained on schedule with my booktube channel, with a minor blip this week that had me posting my first video of the week on Thursday instead of Tuesday.

I’ve also started my first series on Booktube, that being my Feminist Lit series. The idea is once a month I will read a book that falls under the genre of Feminist Literature and pair it with an important concept to Feminism (obviously one that the book references well). I would really appreciate some feedback on this video! It’s a totally knew thing to me so I’d just like to know what you thought and if you have any advice for future videos in the series.Body Posi

Unfortunately, that said, my writing has fallen much further behind that I would have hoped. I haven’t so much as looked at my novel to rework it and I haven’t kept up with my 99 days of Poetry Challenge. My goal for the next 10 days is to whip this into shape and have some progress to share with you next time.

Any advice on how to get yourself to write? How to time manage between blogging, reading, and writing?

Just a quick update today! Hope all of you are doing well. I am anxiously awaiting my Book Depository order that seems to be taking decades to arrive.

Thanks everyone!

~Baylee
(A.K.A. That Blushing Book Girl)