Well, it's still a mess out there. I'm starting my quarantine over (I had to go to the grocery store yesterday) to be on the safe side...so day one! It's still not widespread in my area but to be fair...there aren't many tests (and it takes a long time to get results back) so I suppose the information I'm receiving is from two or so weeks ago.
I'm focusing on work (which has mostly collapsed) and cleaning my house. I haven't been able to sit still to watch new TV shows, although my friend has been pushing me to watch Tiger King on Netflix. Also, I still haven't seen Miss Fisher's new movie. I think I need to stop reading so much of the news, it's all anxiety-inducing for me.
Reading has also been much slower, mostly because of the inability to sit still and relax. I'm in the process of reading three books, Emma (the annotated version) by Jane Austin, The Highwayman by Kerrigan Byrne (the first chapter isn't doing much for me but I have hope) and The Impersonator by Mary Miley. Maybe I can swing through those soon.
I just finished Ayoade on Top by Richard Ayoade. I enjoy Ayoade's humor and he was promoting this on Graham Norton's show so I ordered it (from the UK) and it's adorable. Adorkable? Mostly, it's intelligently sarcastic, witty and has a grammatically correct triple apostrophe. Be still my heart. If you're trying to determine where you've seen Ayoade, he's been in several TV shows, directed some movies, written a few books, appeared on panel shows, is currently hosting a game show in the UK AND played Moss on the IT Crowd.
I think because my anxiety is so high I haven't really sat down to make this week's posts. I'm all over the place on it. So, instead, I thought I would show some of the YA books I enjoyed (but passed on to teachers). I wouldn't normally go into a longer post about them but hey, maybe I should do shorter posts anyways.
Clash of Kingdoms Trilogy by Erin Summerill
Aren't these book covers stunning? I received the first one in an Uppercase Book Subscription (RIP, miss it!) around December 2016. I liked it l so I purchased the other two books when they were released and read all three one weekend. I think the series went in a different direction than I was expecting and I didn't enjoy it as much as I wanted to. I rated the first book around three stars (like well enough but not keeping) and the other two a little less. It follows an archetype of a fairy tale, so nothing new was really brought to the table. That being said, if you like that type of story and don't want twists and turns then this works out quite well. The writing is easy and won't be challenging (i don't mean that in a negative way) for many readers.
The first book's synopsis: Seventeen year-old Britta Flannery is at ease only in the woods with her dagger and bow. She spends her days tracking criminals alongside her father, the legendary bounty hunter for the King of Malam—that is, until her father is murdered. Now outcast and alone and having no rights to her father’s land or inheritance, she seeks refuge where she feels most safe: the Ever Woods. When Britta is caught poaching by the royal guard, instead of facing the noose she is offered a deal: her freedom in exchange for her father’s killer.
However, it’s not so simple. The alleged killer is none other than Cohen McKay, her father’s former apprentice. The only friend she’s ever known. The boy she once loved who broke her heart. She must go on a dangerous quest in a world of warring kingdoms, mad kings, and dark magic to find the real killer. But Britta wields more power than she knows. And soon she will learn what has always made her different will make her a daunting and dangerous force.
The second book delves a tiny bit into a love triangle (via magic?) which I didn't enjoy as I dislike that type of plot:
After saving King Aodren with her newfound Channeler powers, Britta only wants to live a peaceful life in her childhood home. Unfortunately, saving the King has created a tether between them she cannot sever, no matter how much she'd like to, and now he's insisting on making her a noble lady. And there are those who want to use Britta’s power for evil designs. If Britta cannot find a way to harness her new magical ability, her life—as well as her country—may be lost..
The third book deals with the King and his new love interest saving the kingdom:
For twenty years, Channelers—women with a magical ability—have been persecuted in Malam by those without magic. Now King Aodren wants to end the bloody divide and unite his kingdom. But decades of hatred can’t be overcome by issuing decrees, and rumors of a deadly Channeler-made substance are only fueling people’s fears. Lirra has every reason to distrust Aodren. Yet when he asks for help to discover the truth behind the rumors, she can’t say no. With Lirra by his side, Aodren sees a way forward for his people. But can he rewrite the mistakes of the past before his enemies destroy the world he’s working so hard to rebuild?
I was also a bit surprised that the third book had a silver foil instead of gold. It looks great against the blue background but not great with the two other books. I thought that was quite a miss considering how stunning the scroll work, typography and over all design elements of the entire trilogy.
I'm a sucker for a beautiful book. I'm also a sucker for the type of fairy tale (snow white and the huntress type) story. Erin Summerill's website has information about where to buy (and her work in general). She hasn't really updated anything in awhile so I'm not sure what she's doing.
Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the worst thing she'd ever been through. That was before her planet was invaded. Now, with enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra are forced to fight their way onto one of the evacuating craft, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.
But the warship could be the least of their problems. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet's AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their biggest threat; and nobody in charge will say what's really going on. As Kady plunges into a web of data hacking to get to the truth, it's clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: Ezra.
This is the first in a trilogy and I gave it a shot. I don't really love sci-fi type books but I like mysteries and puzzles. I figured it would be 50/50 on how it'd go for me. I like it just fine, and even though it's quite a thick book, I moved through at a fast pace. I bought the second book (same deal) and I ended up getting the third book from the library by chance. Because of the format of the books, I found it a quick read but I wasn't delving into the story the way others might. I heard that it was one of the more popular books in the classroom, probably because of the elements within.
This series would be the one I'd recommend in the three options I've put forth today. Simply because it's so different and cool. There's enough sci-fi, mystery and plot to keep you engaged. That all being said, once I had read the book, I wasn't keen to start over. I willingly re-read the first book in the Clash of Kingdoms trilogy. So that's a little note there.
Save The Date by Morgan Matson
I thought this book was cute but I wasn't overly enamored with it. My issue was the huge amount of family backstory I had to learn about (I'm still not sure it was all needed) and the unrealistic aspect of the story. I needed to be in a more fanciful to mood to read this and I wasn't. That's a shame because the writing style was nice and the plot did move along nicely.
This is a story about Charlie growing up and starting a new stage in life--in which her family is going to change, as all families eventually do. There's not much romance and that's good (I don't think I could have handled a romance plot on top of all the 'hi-jinks'). The synopsis makes it sound much funnier than it was. I thought the deeper moments (Charlie's realizations, her brother's relationship, etc.) had more impact than what's given credit.