Mundie Moms

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Learning Not To Drown by Anna Shinoda / Between Two Worlds by Katherine Kirkpatrick, Book Reviews

Today's reviews are for two books I read awhile back, but have taken me a bit to write reviews for. Normally I don't review books that I didn't end up enjoying, but sometimes books I don't like, are ones other people thought were good, which is the base for both of these books.

Published by: Atheneum
Released on: April 1, 2014
Source: book from publisher to review
Rating: Sadly this Book Wasn't For Me
Purchase it from: Amazon | B&N
Add it to Goodreads

Family secrets cut to the bone in this mesmerizing debut novel about a teen whose drug-addicted brother is the prodigal son one time too many.

There is a pecking order to every family. Seventeen-year old Clare is the overprotected baby; Peter is the typical, rebellious middle child; and Luke is the oldest, the can’t-do-wrong favorite. To their mother, they are a normal, happy family.

To Clare, they are a family on the verge of disaster. Clare: the ambitious striver; Peter: the angry ticking time bomb; and Luke: a drug-addicted convicted felon who has been in and out of jail for as long as Clare can remember—and who has always been bailed out by their parents.

Clare loves Luke, but life as his sister hasn’t been easy. And when he comes home (again), she wants to believe this time will be different (again). Yet when the truths behind his arrests begin to surface, everything Clare knows is shaken to its core. And then Luke is arrested. Again.

Except this time is different, because Clare’s mom does the unthinkable on Luke’s behalf, and Clare has to decide whether turning her back on family is a selfish act…or the only way to keep from drowning along with them.

Debut novelist Anna Shinoda's raw, gritty, powerful novel cuts right to the bone and brings to life the skeletons the lurk in the closet

This is a gritty, emotional raw, debut that doesn't hold back on the demons that plague families from behind closed doors. I've read a few gritty novels, and really enjoyed them. Going into this one, I was hoping for the same out come, but sadly realized this book wasn't one for me. However, I appreciate what the author was trying to do, and the fact that she didn't shy away from the troubles that some teens deal with, within their own families.

This book is not an easy read. It's a dark read that doesn't hold back. Clare's family has many problems, and I my heart broke for her as she tries to come to terms with all the lies. This was one of those reads that invoked a wide range of emotions for me. From anger and frustration towards Clare's family and the way they handled things and treated her, to cheering on Clare the entire time, and hoping that she would be able to stand up and hold her firm ground with her parents. At the same time, I respected the fact that Clare was a teenager, but the things that are tackled with Clare's family problems forced her to grow up very fast. While I was extremely mad at the way her mother handled everything, but the time I got to the end of the book, I realized that she too needed help, well the entire family does. That still does not excuse her for the horrible way she treats Clare. Don't even get me started on that, vs the way she treats her troubled, VERY trouble brother. 

There was one thing I was confused by within in the story. I got the whole "skeleton" in the closet thing. I mean, who doesn't have those. Everyone has something from their past they're not proud of. I was totally lost with the author having Clare talk to the skeleton like it's an actual person to handle her problems. I'm not sure what that was symbolic of, but I didn't feel like it worked for me in reading the book. What I did like with the book, is how certain chapters were reflective on Clare's past, and other chapters were in the present. The author does a great job at titling the chapters so it was easy to know when I was getting a glimpse into the past, and when I wasn't. I liked how the past helped paint the picture of the over all story telling as Clare reflects back on the then, vs the now. Overall, this was a book that just wasn't my cup of tea.  *There is language, the mention of rape in this book.

Released on: April 8, 2014
Source: book from publisher to review
Rating: Sadly this Book Wasn't For Me
Purchase it from: Amazon | B&N
Add it to Goodreads

On the treeless shores of Itta, Greenland, as far north as humans can settle, sixteen-year-old Inuit Billy Bah spots a ship far out among the icebergs on the bay--a sight both welcome and feared. Explorers have already left their indelible mark on her land and its people, and a ship full of white men can mean trouble.

The ship carries provisions for Robert E. Peary, who is making an expedition to the North Pole. As a child, Billy Bah spent a year in America with Peary's family. When her parents went to America years later, they died in a tragic scandal. Now, Peary's wife, daughter, and crew are in Itta to bring him supplies. Winter comes on fast, and when the ship gets caught in the ice, Billy Bah sets out to find Peary. The journey will imperil her life, and that of the man she loves.

By turns lyrical and gripping, Between Two Worlds is an impassioned coming-of-age novel set in a land of breathtaking beauty and danger, where nature and love are powerful and unpredictable forces.

I absolutely love reading books that have historical touches. So when Between Two Worlds unexpectedly arrive in the mail, I decided to give it a go as its a book about a Native story with a historical setting. It sounded like something I'd love to read. I was intrigued by the historical facts/notes that Kirkpatrick included in the back of the book, and wanted to know how she incorporated those real life events into a her own story. Sadly this book fell flat with it's narrative and writing for me. 

Giving that this story is suppose to be from that of Billy Bah, an Inuit teen who was the seamstress for Robert E. Peary (one of the first white men to claim to reach the north pole), the story felt it was being told from the perspective of someone outside of Billy's Inuit village looking in. Kirkpatrick did a great job at including the info she reached for her book, but it didn't feel authentic to Billy's voice. I felt that I was being told by a third person, vs by Billy. Once I felt that disconnect from the story, I couldn't get back into it. Can I also say how mad I was at the fact that men traded goods for sex with Inuit wives. Yes, I get this has happened through out history, and every time I read about it makes me made. Given this his is a historical book, it doesn't shy away from things that were "customary" during this time. 

 As I mentioned above I love history, and I was totally intrigued with the time period, and wanting to find out what it was like for Billy Bah to grow up in an Inuit village, her life during this time, and what it was like for her for when the influences of white men came to her village. Just in case you're wondering why I'm using that term, because it's in the book. No matter how much I kept reading, I just didn't like the book. It pains me to say this. It just wasn't one for me. Now, I will say that this book was written in away that is extremely easy to read, and I know a few other readers have enjoyed this book. Sadly this was not a book I ended up liking, and I really wanted to. *This book includes mention of sex.

Cassandra Clare's UK #COHF Tour Re-Cap

Cassandra Clare is off on her UK City of Heavenly Fire tour and joining her is Sarah Rees Brennan. Here are a few pictures from their first couple of stops. All pictures in this post are found on Walker Books (Cassie's UK publisher), via their Twitter account- @WalkerBooksUK If you're not following them yet, I highly recommend that you do!

1st Stop - Edinburgh, Scotland 

source                                         source

Wow, Waterstones knows how to host a signing. This place looks amazing!

2nd stop: Newcastle (see more pics via #NewCastleShadowhunters)

3rd stop: DUBLIN, Ireland  (check out #TMIPartyDublin to see more pictures)

4th stop: LONDON, England! (check out more pictures via #COHFFukTour / #TMIParty) This party happened TODAY!!

Source: @TMI_TID_UK

Some of today's tweets from the event include a Q&A from Cassie. Here's what's been shared:
  •  Simon's short stories will be like The Bane Chronicles and loads of exciting stuff will happen! - via @CatReads
  • Who would bring to life? A: Magnus because he would be so fun to hang out with. - via @WalkerBooksUK
  • . has said that the Iron Sisters will be very important later.  - via @TMI_TID_UK
  • . on micro-planning & blocking out scenes: "I always know where I'm going to start & where I am going to end up."  - via @WalkerBooksUK
Cassie's next signing will be at ALA in Las Vegas at the end of this month!

Cassandra Clare Answers Fan Questions About CoHF

Featured below are two of Cassie's most recent posts in which she answers fan questions. The first includes a spoiler from COLS, and the second, which is hidden from the blog, because it contains a major COHF spoiler.  In order to read what Cassie wrote you have to click the READ MORE link found at the bottom of the post.

The Wild Hunt *click the highlighted link to be taken directly to Cassie's post*
"Loved the ending to the series. But just curious, I might have glazed over this in the books, but what exactly is the Wild Hunt? It seemed like they were Faerie but then not. — timbi-sha"
Well, here’s what Jace says about them in City of Lost Souls when they are first foreshadowed:
At last Clary heard it, a long slow rushing noise, like water pouring through a broken dam. The sky darkened and churned as figures rushed across it. She could barely make them out through the clouds and the distance, but they seemed to be men, with long hair like cirrus clouds, riding horses whose hooves gleamed the color of blood. The sound of a hunting horn echoed across the night, and the stars shivered and the night folded in on itself as the men vanished behind the moon. She let her breath out in a slow exhalation.
“What was that?”
“The Wild Hunt,” said Jace. His voice sounded distant and dreamlike. “Gabriel’s Hounds. The Wild Host. They have many names. They are faeries who disdain the earthly Courts. They ride across the sky, pursuing an eternal hunt. On one night a year a mortal can join them—but once you’ve joined the Hunt, you can never leave it.”
So you are correct in a way - they are faeries but not, in the sense that they answer neither to the Seelie nor Unseelie Court.
And now a CoHF spoilery question under a cut, about the Queen.
Is there a reason that the Seelie Queen didn’t show up to the council meeting but sent Kaelie instead? Is she dead?
She’s not dead. But she has a really good reason not to want to be seen by the Clave.

*This next Q&A contains a major spoiler in COHF, because I've not yet read the entire book, and I know others who haven't, I include a READ MORE link, so that the spoiler itself isn't visible on the blog, but you can still read it. I read it, but I already knew this spoiler. 
City of Heavenly Fire: Maia and Jordan and sad white men *click the link to be taking directly to Cassie's post*
City of Heavenly Fire has now been out ten days — and scored #1 on both the new York Times and Wall Street Journal lists, so I am super thrilled — and in celebration, I’m going to start answering … spoilery questions.
The answers are under read more tags for now. This one is about Jordan and to some extent, Maia.
This one does admittedly come from someone who hasn’t read the book, but they very much wanted me to answer it. So: