Monthly Reads: October 2018

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Trial Runby Dick Francis

Trial Run
by Dick Francis

Goodreads | Amazon
Series: no
Published: 1978
Rating: my God, I love these books
Times read: I don’t even know, so very many
Recommended by: reread during my trip to Russia

From Goodreads:

Veteran horseman Randall Drew travels to Moscow to help the Russian royal family--but ends up caught in a world of jealousy, sabotage, and murder.

Tyrants come and go, tyranny is constant.

The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons

The Bronze Horseman
by Paullina Simons

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: The Bronze Horseman, #1
Published: 2001
Rating: The Soviet Union was scary
Times read: 2
Recommended by: Amazon

From Goodreads:

The golden skies, the translucent twilight, the white nights, all hold the promise of youth, of love, of eternal renewal. The war has not yet touched this city of fallen grandeur, or the lives of two sisters, Tatiana and Dasha Metanova, who share a single room in a cramped apartment with their brother and parents. Their world is turned upside down when Hitler's armies attack Russia and begin their unstoppable blitz to Leningrad.

Yet there is light in the darkness. Tatiana meets Alexander, a brave young officer in the Red Army. Strong and self-confident, yet guarding a mysterious and troubled past, he is drawn to Tatiana—and she to him. Starvation, desperation, and fear soon grip their city during the terrible winter of the merciless German siege. Tatiana and Alexander's impossible love threatens to tear the Metanova family apart and expose the dangerous secret Alexander so carefully protects—a secret as devastating as the war itself—as the lovers are swept up in the brutal tides that will change the world and their lives forever.

War was the ultimate chaos, a pounding, soul-destroying snarl, ending in blown-apart men lying unburied on the cold earth. There was nothing more cosmically chaotic than war.

Mariam Sharma Hits the Roadby Sheba Karim

Mariam Sharma Hits the Road
by Sheba Karim

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: no
Published: June 5th 2018 
Rating: Full review of Mariam Sharma Hits the Road
Times read: 1
Recommended by: Twitter and the Hey YA Podcast

From Goodreads:

The summer after her freshman year in college, Mariam is looking forward to working and hanging out with her best friends: irrepressible and beautiful Ghazala and religious but closeted Umar. But when a scandalous photo of Ghaz appears on a billboard in Times Square, Mariam and Umar come up with a plan to rescue her from her furious parents. And what better escape than New Orleans?

The friends pile into Umar's car and start driving south, making all kinds of pit stops along the way--from a college drag party to a Muslim convention, from alarming encounters at roadside diners to honky-tonks and barbeque joints. 

Along with the adventures, the fun banter, and the gas station junk food, the friends have some hard questions to answer on the road. With her uncle's address in her pocket, Mariam hopes to learn the truth about her father (and to make sure she didn't inherit his talent for disappearing). But as each mile of the road trip brings them closer to their own truths, they know they can rely on each other, and laughter, to get them through.

If any of this ended in an explosion, I hoped it would be one that made us burn brighter, stronger than ever before.

Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor

Muse of Nightmares
by Laini Taylor

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: Strange the Dreamer, #2
Published: October 2nd 2018
Rating: what a fairytale
Times read: 1
Recommended by: I needed this sequel

From Goodreads:

In the wake of tragedy, neither Lazlo nor Sarai are who they were before. One a god, the other a ghost, they struggle to grasp the new boundaries of their selves as dark-minded Minya holds them hostage, intent on vengeance against Weep.

Lazlo faces an unthinkable choice—save the woman he loves, or everyone else?—while Sarai feels more helpless than ever. But is she? Sometimes, only the direst need can teach us our own depths, and Sarai, the Muse of Nightmares, has not yet discovered what she's capable of.

As humans and godspawn reel in the aftermath of the citadel's near fall, a new foe shatters their fragile hopes, and the mysteries of the Mesarthim are resurrected: Where did the gods come from, and why? What was done with thousands of children born in the citadel nursery? And most important of all, as forgotten doors are opened and new worlds revealed: Must heroes always slay monsters, or is it possible to save them instead?

There comes a certain point with a hope or a dream, when you either give it up or give up everything else. And if you choose the dream, if you keep on going, then you can never quit, because it’s all you are.

What If It's Us by Becky Albertalli

What If It's Us
by Becky Albertalli

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: no
Published: October 9th 2018
Rating: heart-eyed emoji
Times read: 1
Recommended by: autobuy

From Goodreads:

Arthur is only in New York for the summer, but if Broadway has taught him anything, it’s that the universe can deliver a showstopping romance when you least expect it.

Ben thinks the universe needs to mind its business. If the universe had his back, he wouldn’t be on his way to the post office carrying a box of his ex-boyfriend’s things.

But when Arthur and Ben meet-cute at the post office, what exactly does the universe have in store for them?

Maybe nothing. After all, they get separated.

Maybe everything. After all, they get reunited.

But what if they can’t quite nail a first date . . . or a second first date . . . or a third?

What if Arthur tries too hard to make it work . . . and Ben doesn’t try hard enough?

What if life really isn’t like a Broadway play?

But what if it is? 

I barely know him. I guess that is every relationship. You start with nothing and maybe end with everything.

Sadie by Courtney Summers

Sadie
by Courtney Summers

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: no
Published: September 4th 2018
Rating: Full review of Sadie
Times read: 1
Recommended by: all the internet

From Goodreads:

Sadie hasn't had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she's been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water. 

But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie's entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister's killer to justice and hits the road following a few meagre clues to find him.

When West McCray—a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America—overhears Sadie's story at a local gas station, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie's journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it's too late.

Every little thing about you can be a weapon, if you’re clever enough.

Every Day by David Levithan

Every Day
by David Levithan

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: Every Day, #1
Published: August 28th 2012
Rating: Very unique
Times read: 1
Recommended by: reread for my LGBTQIA list

From Goodreads:

Every day a different body. Every day a different life. Every day in love with the same girl.
There’s never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere.


It’s all fine until the morning that A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone A wants to be with—day in, day out, day after day. 

I wake up thinking of yesterday. The joy is in remembering; the pain is in knowing it was yesterday.

Gmorning, Gnight!: Little Pep Talks for Me & You byLin-Manuel Miranda

Gmorning, Gnight!: Little Pep Talks for Me & You
byLin-Manuel Miranda

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: no
Published: October 16th 2018 
Rating: my heart
Times read: 1
Recommended by: my love for LMM

From Goodreads:

Before he inspired the world with Hamilton and was catapulted to international fame, Lin-Manuel Miranda was inspiring his Twitter followers with words of encouragement at the beginning and end of each day. He wrote these original sayings, aphorisms, and poetry for himself as much as for others. But as Miranda’s audience grew, these messages took on a life on their own. Now Miranda has gathered the best of his daily greetings into a beautiful collection illustrated by acclaimed artist (and fellow Twitter favorite) Jonny Sun. Full of comfort and motivation, Gmorning, Gnight! is a touchstone for anyone who needs a quick lift.

Did you also forget to get the lifetime warranty for a good night’s sleep? Saaaaame. Here I got some Chicken Soup For The Soul type sh*t
*opens bag full of lavender sh*t, dreams, alcolado, deep breaths, flights of fantasy, this bunny at a piano*

The Smell of Other People's Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock

The Smell of Other People's Houses
by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: no
Published: February 23rd 2016
Rating: made me nostalgic for my time in Alaska
Times read: 1
Recommended by: Cait from Paperfury, I think

From Goodreads:

This deeply moving and authentic debut set in 1970s Alaska is for fans of Rainbow Rowell, Louise Erdrich, Sherman Alexie, and Benjamin Alire Saenz. Intertwining stories of love, tragedy, wild luck, and salvation on the edge of America’s Last Frontier introduce a writer of rare talent.
 
Ruth has a secret that she can’t hide forever. Dora wonders if she can ever truly escape where she comes from, even when good luck strikes. Alyce is trying to reconcile her desire to dance, with the life she’s always known on her family’s fishing boat. Hank and his brothers decide it’s safer to run away than to stay home—until one of them ends up in terrible danger.
 
Four very different lives are about to become entangled. This unforgettable William C. Morris Award finalist is about people who try to save each other—and how sometimes, when they least expect it, they succeed. 

Sometimes you can be inserted into another person’s life just by witnessing something you were never really supposed to be a part of.

Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young

Sky in the Deep
by Adrienne Young

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: no
Published: April 24th 2018
Rating: viking!
Times read: 1
Recommended by: have you seen that cover?

From Goodreads:

Raised to be a warrior, seventeen-year-old Eelyn fights alongside her Aska clansmen in an ancient rivalry against the Riki clan. Her life is brutal but simple: fight and survive. Until the day she sees the impossible on the battlefield—her brother, fighting with the enemy—the brother she watched die five years ago.

Faced with her brother's betrayal, she must survive the winter in the mountains with the Riki, in a village where every neighbor is an enemy, every battle scar possibly one she delivered. But when the Riki village is raided by a ruthless clan thought to be a legend, Eelyn is even more desperate to get back to her beloved family.

She is given no choice but to trust Fiske, her brother’s friend, who sees her as a threat. They must do the impossible: unite the clans to fight together, or risk being slaughtered one by one. Driven by a love for her clan and her growing love for Fiske, Eelyn must confront her own definition of loyalty and family while daring to put her faith in the people she’s spent her life hating. 

We find things, just as we lose things. If you’ve lost your honor, you’ll find it again.

We'll Fly Away by Bryan Bliss

We'll Fly Away
by Bryan Bliss

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: no
Published: May 8th 2018 
Rating: a watershed book
Times read: 1
Recommended by: Eric Smith on the Hey YA podcast

From Goodreads:

Uniquely told through letters from death row and third-person narrative, Bryan Bliss’s hard-hitting third novel expertly unravels the string of events that landed a teenager in jail. Luke feels like he’s been looking after Toby his entire life. He patches Toby up when Toby’s father, a drunk and a petty criminal, beats on him, he gives him a place to stay, and he diffuses the situation at school when wise-cracking Toby inevitably gets into fights. Someday, Luke and Toby will leave this small town, riding the tails of Luke’s wrestling scholarship, and never look back.

But during their senior year, they begin to drift apart. Luke is dealing with his unreliable mother and her new boyfriend. And Toby unwittingly begins to get drawn into his father’s world, and falls for an older woman. All their long-held dreams seem to be unraveling. Tense and emotional, this heartbreaking novel explores family, abuse, sex, love, friendship, and the lengths a person will go to protect the people they love. 

We are not living in a world that stands still.

The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness

The Rest of Us Just Live Here
by Patrick Ness

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: no
Published: August 27th 2015
Rating: the story we didn’t know we needed
Times read: 1
Recommended by: Eric Smith on the Hey YA podcast

From Goodreads:

What if you aren’t the Chosen One?

The one who’s supposed to fight the zombies, or the soul-eating ghosts, or whatever the heck this new thing is, with the blue lights and the death?

What if you’re like Mikey? Who just wants to graduate and go to prom and maybe finally work up the courage to ask Henna out before someone goes and blows up the high school. Again.

Because sometimes there are problems bigger than this week’s end of the world, and sometimes you just have to find the extraordinary in your ordinary life.

Even if your best friend is worshipped by mountain lions... 

We’re just as screwed up and brave and false and loyal and wrong and right as anyone else.

Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking by Samin Nosrat

Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking
by Samin Nosrat

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: no
Published: April 25th 2017
Rating: FOOOOOOD
Times read: 1
Recommended by: weirdly not reading before watching the show. I didn’t know that there was a show until I had finsihed.

From Goodreads:

In the tradition of The Joy of Cooking and How to Cook Everythingcomes Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, an ambitious new approach to cooking by a major new culinary voice. Chef and writer Samin Nosrat has taught everyone from professional chefs to middle school kids to author Michael Pollan to cook using her revolutionary, yet simple, philosophy. Master the use of just four elements—Salt, which enhances flavor; Fat, which delivers flavor and generates texture; Acid, which balances flavor; and Heat, which ultimately determines the texture of food—and anything you cook will be delicious. By explaining the hows and whys of good cooking, Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat will teach and inspire a new generation of cooks how to confidently make better decisions in the kitchen and cook delicious meals with any ingredients, anywhere, at any time. 

Echoing Samin’s own journey from culinary novice to award-winning chef, Salt, Fat Acid, Heat immediately bridges the gap between home and professional kitchens. With charming narrative, illustrated walkthroughs, and a lighthearted approach to kitchen science, Samin demystifies the four elements of good cooking for everyone. Refer to the canon of 100 essential recipes—and dozens of variations—to put the lessons into practice and make bright, balanced vinaigrettes, perfectly caramelized roast vegetables, tender braised meats, and light, flaky pastry doughs. 

Get used to the way the salt falls from your hands; experience the illicit thrill of using so much of something we’ve all been taught to fear.

The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams

The Chosen One
by Carol Lynch Williams

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: no
Published: May 8th 2009
Rating: a hard read
Times read: 1
Recommended by: Goodreads

From Goodreads:

Thirteen-year-old Kyra has grown up in an isolated community without questioning the fact that her father has three wives and she has twenty brothers and sisters. That is, without questioning it much - if you don't count her visits to the Ironton County Mobile Library on Wheels to read forbidden books, or her secret meetings with Joshua, the boy she hopes to choose for herself instead of having a man chosen for her. 

But when the Prophet decrees that Kyra must marry her sixty-year-old uncle - who already has six wives - she must make a desperate choice in the face of violence and her own fears of losing her family forever. 

I’d never seen so many books. Never. The sight made my eyes water. I mean, tear right up

Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody

Ace of Shades
by Amanda Foody

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: The Shadow Game, #1
Published: April 10th 2018 
Rating: I’ll read the sequel
Times read: 1
Recommended by: Cait from Paperfury

From Goodreads:

Enne Salta was raised as a proper young lady, and no lady would willingly visit New Reynes, the so-called City of Sin. But when her mother goes missing, Enne must leave her finishing school—and her reputation—behind to follow her mother’s trail to the city where no one survives uncorrupted.

Frightened and alone, Enne has only one lead: the name Levi Glaisyer. Unfortunately, Levi is not the gentleman she expected—he’s a street lord and a con man. Levi is also only one payment away from cleaning up a rapidly unraveling investment scam, so he doesn't have time to investigate a woman leading a dangerous double life. Enne's offer of compensation, however, could be the solution to all his problems. 

Their search for clues leads them through glamorous casinos, illicit cabarets and into the clutches of a ruthless Mafia donna. As Enne unearths an impossible secret about her past, Levi's enemies catch up to them, ensnaring him in a vicious execution game where the players always lose. To save him, Enne will need to surrender herself to the city…

And she’ll need to play.

Sometimes we’re not who we want to be because we’re supposed to be something else.

Thunder Over Kandahar by Sharon E. McKay

Thunder Over Kandahar
by Sharon E. McKay

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: no
Published: January 1st 2010
Rating: sometimes it sucks to be a girl
Times read: 1
Recommended by: Goodreads

From Goodreads:

A powerful novel of enduring friendship set amid the terror and chaos of present-day Afghanistan. Best friends Tamanna and Yasmine cannot believe their good fortune when a school is set up in their Afghan village; however, their dreams for the future are shattered when the Taliban burns down the school and threatens the teacher and students with death. As Tamanna faces an arranged marriage to an older man, and the Taliban targets Yasmine’s western-educated family, the girls realize they must flee. Traveling through the heart of Taliban territory, the two unaccompanied young women find themselves in mortal danger. After suffering grave injuries—Tamanna from a fall and Yasmine from a suicide bombing—the girls are left without the one thing that has helped them survive—each other. The book features stunning photographs by award-winning photojournalist Rafal Gerszak (The New York Times, BBC World News) that bring readers an immediate sense of the faces and landscape of Afghanistan. Filled with tension and drama, Thunder Over Kandahar paints a vivid portrait of the perils of contemporary Afghanistan.

Without our artists and storytellers, we have no history, and without history your future is unmoored — we drift. It is art, never war, that carries culture forward.

The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B by Teresa Toten

The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B
by Teresa Toten

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: no
Published: August 27th 2013
Rating: emotional read
Times read: 1
Recommended by: I can’t even remember

From Goodreads:

When Adam meets Robyn at a support group for kids coping with obsessive-compulsive disorder, he is drawn to her almost before he can take a breath. He's determined to protect and defend her--to play Batman to her Robyn--whatever the cost. But when you're fourteen and the everyday problems of dealing with divorced parents and step-siblings are supplemented by the challenges of OCD, it's hard to imagine yourself falling in love. How can you have a "normal" relationship when your life is so fraught with problems? And that's not even to mention the small matter of those threatening letters Adam's mother has started to receive . . . 

I believe that I am unclean and will harm those I care about the most and that there is too much noise in my head and that I am so goddamned tired.

You Bring the Distant Near by Mitali Perkins

You Bring the Distant Near
by Mitali Perkins

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: no
Published: September 12th 2017
Rating: beautiful story of life between cultures
Times read: 1
Recommended by: I found it on Libby from my library

From Goodreads:

Five girls. Three generations. One great American love story. 

Ranee, worried that her children are losing their Indian culture; Sonia, wrapped up in a forbidden biracial love affair; Tara, seeking the limelight to hide her true self; Shanti, desperately trying to make peace in the family; Anna, fighting to preserve her Bengali identity.

Where am I from? Can the answer be stories and words, some of theirs, some of mine?

The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White

The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein
by Kiersten White 

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: no
Published: September 25th 2018
Rating: Why is being a woman so scary?
Times read: 1
Recommended by: the author on twitter

From Goodreads:

Elizabeth Lavenza hasn't had a proper meal in weeks. Her thin arms are covered with bruises from her "caregiver," and she is on the verge of being thrown into the streets . . . until she is brought to the home of Victor Frankenstein, an unsmiling, solitary boy who has everything--except a friend.

Victor is her escape from misery. Elizabeth does everything she can to make herself indispensable--and it works. She is taken in by the Frankenstein family and rewarded with a warm bed, delicious food, and dresses of the finest silk. Soon she and Victor are inseparable.

But her new life comes at a price. As the years pass, Elizabeth's survival depends on managing Victor's dangerous temper and entertaining his every whim, no matter how depraved. Behind her blue eyes and sweet smile lies the calculating heart of a girl determined to stay alive no matter the cost . . . as the world she knows is consumed by darkness.

While I saw the destruction of the tree as nature’s beauty, Victor saw power—power to light up the night and banish darkness, power to end a centuries-old life in a single strike—that he cannot control or access. And nothing bothers Victor more than something he cannot control.

Hocus Pocus & The All New Sequel by A.W. Jantha

Hocus Pocus & The All New Sequel 
by A.W. Jantha

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: no/yes?
Published: July 10th 2018 
Rating: Please, it’s Hocus Pocus
Times read: 1
Recommended by: 25 years? how did that happen?

From Goodreads:

Hocus Pocus is beloved by Halloween enthusiasts all over the world. Diving once more into the world of witches, this electrifying two-part young adult novel, released on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the 1993 film, marks a new era of Hocus Pocus. Fans will be spellbound by a fresh retelling of the original film, followed by the all-new sequel that continues the story with the next generation of Salem teens.

Shortly after moving from California to Salem, Massachusetts, Max Dennison finds himself in hot water when he accidentally releases a coven of witches, the Sanderson sisters, from the afterlife. Max, his sister, and his new friends (human and otherwise) must find a way to stop the witches from carrying out their evil plan and remaining on earth to torment Salem for all eternity.

Twenty-five years later, Max and Allison's seventeen-year-old daughter, Poppy, finds herself face-to-face with the Sanderson sisters in all their sinister glory. When Halloween celebrations don't quite go as planned, it's a race against time as Poppy and her friends fight to save her family and all of Salem from the witches' latest death-defying scheme.

Amuck!

Have you read any of these books?

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