April 2016 Wrap Up

April 30, 2016
InToriLex, Monthly Wrap up, April 2016
Check out the links below for my Reviews, Book Scoops and Discussions in April: 

WHAT I READ

Fifteen Lanes by S.J. Laidlaw  (4 STARS
Eleanor by Jason Gurley (4 STARS
Paper Girls, Vol. 1 (Paper Girls #1-5) by Brian K. Vaughan, Cliff Chiang (Illustrator), Matthew Wilson (Illustrator) (2.5 STARS
The Winner's Curse (The Winner's Trilogy #1) by Marie Rutkoski (2 STARS
Ribbonworld by Richard Dee (4 STARS)
Maus II: And Here My Troubles Began (Maus #2) by Art Spiegelman(4 STARS)

Ripping Solace: Four Worlds in Conflict by Gabriela Aguilar (3.5 STARS)
Sleeping Giants (Themis Files #1) by Sylvain Neuvel  (3.5 STARS)
Sula by Toni Morrison (5 STARS)

DISCUSSION POSTS

Top Ten Books For Every Reluctant Sci-fi Reader 

This was a decent reading month for me. I got to finally read Maus I and Maus II which I have wanted to read for years. I got to re-read Sula, one of my favorite books, since it was my book club pick for the month.  I usually never re-read since I want to read as many books as possible. All of the indie books I read had well thought out plots, despite there faults.  

I  also  read Sleeping Giants, which was one of my Top Ten 2016 Debut Novels I'm Most Looking Forward To. I'm happy I've been able to balance reading new releases, books on my To Be Read list and indie titles. My reading schedule has helped me keep reading varied titles and avoid a reading slump. 

Were you able to read all you wanted to this month?
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Sula by Toni Morrison

April 29, 2016
Sula, Toni Morrison, Book Review, InToriLex
Published By: Plume on April 5th 2002 (first 1973)
Format Read: Paperback (192 pages)
Genre: Adult/ Historical Fiction/ African American Experiences
Series: Standalone
Source: Purchased
Rating: FIVE STARS
Sula
~Amazon~
This rich and moving novel traces the lives of two black heroines from their close-knit childhood in a small Ohio town, through their sharply divergent paths of womanhood, to their ultimate confrontation and reconciliation.

Nel Wright has chosen to stay in the place where she was born, to marry, raise a family, and become a pillar of the black community. Sula Peace has rejected the life Nel has embraced, escaping to college, and submerging herself in city life. When she returns to her roots, it is as a rebel and a wanton seductress. Eventually, both women must face the consequences of their choices. Together, they create an unforgettable portrait of what it means and costs to be a black woman in America.

REVIEW: 

When I first read this in high school, I loved it but I didn't have the life experience to understand it, that I do now. This book connects with me, because the culture is familiar. Growing up in a black family,  knowing how burdensome and destructive racism is, this broke my heart all over again. The story focuses on Nel and Sula, two best friends who lose each other and have to deal with the after. Friendship between women, is an undervalued part of the black community, and is usually judged  by the viral images of black women fighting, all over social media. Morrison manages to describe friendship, while explaining the consequences of living in and getting by in the Bottom.
"He knew the smell of death and was terrified of it, for he could not anticipate it. It was not death or dying that frightened him, but the unexpectedness of both. "
The Bottom is the community where this book takes place. Its peculiarity and the individuals who occupy it, illustrate how broken people can find a way to persevere. The community itself was above attacking people, even if they saw them as evil, that's why Sula is tolerated. Sula is viewed as evil because she rejects family life and the morals that the community relies on. Sula's selfishness can be interpreted in many ways, but I read it as an alternative way of survival. Dealing with a world that tells you over and over your not important, can manifest in many ways. Morrison's poetic writing style and metaphors, makes me swoon every time I read it.

I would recommend this book to everyone, because it honestly portrays the feelings of black life. Sula focuses on our notions of what we accept as feminine, as good, as womanhood and why.  It manages to discuss racism, feelings of inadequacy, post traumatic stress disorder and how a community can be a living organism. It's descriptions of despair, and loneliness are a visceral experience. This is powerful storytelling, and I am overjoyed that it exists. It reminds everyone who reads it, that black people have a unique and important cultural experience.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Toni Morrison (born Chloe Anthony Wofford), is an American author, editor, and professor who won the 1993 Nobel Prize in Literature for being an author "who in novels characterized by visionary force and poetic import, gives life to an essential aspect of American reality."

Her novels are known for their epic themes, vivid dialogue, and richly detailed African American characters; among the best known are her novels The Bluest Eye, Song of Solomon, and Beloved, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1988. In 2001 she was named one of "The 30 Most Powerful Women in America" by Ladies' Home Journal.
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Book Scoop April 22- April 29 2016

Book News, Links, InToriLex, Book Scoop, Weekly Feature
Book Industry News and Links to Sift Through When Your Face Isn't buried in a Book 

HEADLINES

Amazon Files Lawsuit Against Fake Ebook Review Sites



Warsan Shire: The Poet Behind Lemonade  
What elevates 'teaching my mother how to give birth', what gives the poems their disturbing brilliance, is Warsan Shire's ability to give simple, beautiful eloquence to the veiled world where sensuality lives in the dominant narrative of Islam; reclaiming the more nuanced truths of earlier times - as in Tayeb Salih's work - and translating to the realm of lyric the work of the likes of Nawal El Saadawi. As Rumi said, "Love will find its way through all languages on its own"; in 'teaching my mother how to give birth', Warsan's debut pamphlet, we witness the unearthing of a poet who finds her way through all preconceptions to strike the heart directly. Warsan Shire is a Kenyan-born Somali poet and writer who is based in London. Born in 1988, she is an artist and activist who uses her work to document narratives of journey and trauma. Warsan has read her work internationally, including recent readings in South Africa, Italy and Germany, and her poetry has been translated into Italian, Spanish and Portuguese. MY REVIEW

LINKS TO CLICK




A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness Trailer Released
Did I miss anything happening in the book world this week?
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Sleeping Giants (Themis Files #1) by Sylvain Neuvel

April 26, 2016
Sleeping Giants, Themis Files #1, Sylvain Neuvel, Book Review, InToriLexPublished By: Del Ray on April 26, 2016
Format Read: Advanced Readers Copy Paperback (302 pages)
Genre: Sci-fi/ Thriller/ Adult
Series: Book one of the Themis Files
Source: Goodreads Giveaway
Rating: THREE POINT FIVE STARS
Sleeping Giants (Themis Files, #1)
~Amazon~
A girl named Rose is riding her new bike near her home in Deadwood, South Dakota, when she falls through the earth. She wakes up at the bottom of a square hole, its walls glowing with intricate carvings. But the firemen who come to save her peer down upon something even stranger: a little girl in the palm of a giant metal hand.

Seventeen years later, the mystery of the bizarre artifact remains unsolved—its origins, architects, and purpose unknown. Its carbon dating defies belief; military reports are redacted; theories are floated, then rejected.

But some can never stop searching for answers.

Rose Franklin is now a highly trained physicist leading a top secret team to crack the hand’s code. And along with her colleagues, she is being interviewed by a nameless interrogator whose power and purview are as enigmatic as the provenance of the relic. What’s clear is that Rose and her compatriots are on the edge of unraveling history’s most perplexing discovery—and figuring out what it portends for humanity. But once the pieces of the puzzle are in place, will the result prove to be an instrument of lasting peace or a weapon of mass destruction? 

REVIEW:

What you should know?
Most of the book is told through interviews with a very powerful man whose interest and purpose in the story is not immediately clear.The characters tell their stories through his questions, and there are sometimes journal entries and articles included between the interviews. This book was one of my Top Ten 2016  Most Anticipated Debuts, and I was not disappointed. The story spans continents, involves multiple branches of the U.S. military, managed to make me laugh and want to hug someone I love. The characters include head strong personalities, geniuses and very flawed people. While the characters work together to unfold what may be the greatest Global advancement in our world, they suffer from their own humanity.
"There are many reasons why, some more relevant than others. From your perspective, it should suffice to know that you would never be allowed to leave this room alive if I did."
What did I like?
The format made this easy to read, and continued to keep me engaged. The interviews provided a way for characters to discuss a range of topics, and developments with little transitions.  All of these characters in the book can think for themselves, and were relateable. Some were misguided, some were memorable, but all were well developed. The future technology allowed me to stretch my horizons on what is possible, by humans and beyond. There's still a lot left to uncover in the series, but there was enough here to pique my interest.

What didn't I like?
Some of the dialogue pontificated on irrelevant things. The interview format did have it's limitations, and became awkward at times. There were predictable science fiction tropes, that led me to guess some of the plot points. I wanted more personal journal entries, which would have worked better for some of the major events that happened throughout the story.

Should you read it?
If you enjoy science fiction thrillers you definitely should. I sped through this book, because of how much I enjoyed it, it was just fun. I'm excitedly waiting for the sequel, and to find out who and what it will involve.

I received this book from a Goodreads Giveaway.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sylvain Neuvel dropped out of high school at age 15. Along the way, he has been a journalist, worked in soil decontamination, sold ice cream in California, and peddled furniture across Canada. He received a Ph.D. in linguistics from the University of Chicago. He taught linguistics in India, and worked as a software engineer in Montreal. He is also a certified translator, though he wishes he were an astronaut. He likes to tinker, dabbles in robotics and is somewhat obsessed with Halloween. He absolutely loves toys; his girlfriend would have him believe that he has too many, so he writes about aliens and giant robots as a blatant excuse to build action figures (for his son, of course).
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Maus II: And Here My Troubles Began (Maus, #2) by Art Spiegelman

April 25, 2016
Maus II: And Here My Troubles Began, Maus #2, Art Spiegelman, Book Review, InToriLex
Published By: Pantheon Books on September 1992 (first published 1991)
Format Read: Paperback (136 pages)
Genre: Nonfiction/ History/ Biography
Series: Book Two of Maus
Source: Purchased
Rating: FOUR STARS
Maus II : And Here My Troubles Began (Maus, #2)
~Amazon~ 
Acclaimed as a quiet triumph and a brutally moving work of art, the first volume of Art Spieglman's Maus introduced readers to Vladek Spiegleman, a Jewish survivor of Hitler's Europe, and his son, a cartoonist trying to come to terms with his father, his father's terrifying story, and History itself. Its form, the cartoon (the Nazis are cats, the Jews mice), succeeds perfectly in shocking us out of any lingering sense of familiararity with the events described, approaching, as it does, the unspeakable through the diminutive.

This second volume, subtitled And Here My Troubles Began, moves us from the barracks of Auschwitz to the bungalows of the Catskills. Genuinely tragic and comic by turns, it attains a complexity of theme and a precision of thought new to comics and rare in any medium. Maus ties together two powerful stories: Vladek's harrowing tale of survival against all odds, delineating the paradox of daily life in the death camps, and the author's account of his tortured relationship with his aging father. At every level this is the ultimate survivor's tale - and that too of the children who somehow survive even the survivors.

REVIEW:

In this volume the author balances detailing the relationship that he has with his father, with describing the atrocities that his father lived through. He notes that he's not sure Vladek did survive Auschwitz, not in a way that's important. The fourth wall is also broken, and we learn how much the author struggled to tell this story, and how uncertain he was that he would be able to do it justice.
It's clear from the notoriety that this volume gained, he told this story in a way that people could relate to and welcome it. It's hard to deal with an aging parent who is set in their own ways of doing things, but love carried him through it. The atrocities of the Holocaust were presented without flowery prose, but with brutal honesty. The result was a unforgettable account of Vladek's  determination to survive, and help others at all costs. The memories that he carried, were so unbearable, at times he tried to forget them all.
But it's important to remember, to honor those who were lost to unimaginable hate. This volume included the stories of people who were not as lucky as Vladek.  People who faced impossible choices, between surviving to die later, or making a mistake and dying now. I would recommend this comic to everyone, because it conveys an honest account of the holocaust in a different medium.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Art Spiegelman (born Itzhak Avraham ben Zeev) is New-York-based comics artist, editor, and advocate for the medium of comics, best known for his Pulitzer Prize-winning comic memoir, Maus.

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Ripping Solace: Four Worlds in Conflict by Gabriela Aguilar

April 24, 2016
Ripping Solace: Four Worlds in Conflict, Gabriela Aguilar, Book Review, InToriLex
Published By: Custom Book Publications
Format Read: E-book (On Kindle) (179 pages)
Genre: Science Fiction/ Young Adult/ Dystopian
Series: Book One of Series (Name TBD)
Source: Author in exchange for an honest review  
Rating: THREE POINT FIVE STARS
Ripping Solace
~Amazon~
I stand on a glass surface looking down at four worlds turning in a small pool of water. They are so different from each other, yet they are all connected by red strings, like veins, that keep them from drifting apart. 
Dear Momo,
I won’t hide the fact I have a safe and comfortable life. I cannot imagine what it is like to see horrible deaths day after day. I don’t know where you find the strength to pick up your weapon and keep fighting. Do we deserve to be punished like this? Were our actions two hundred years ago so terrible we condemned our race to be hunted by monsters?They must have, for we are humans after all. I have been having a strange sensation of something darker lurking beneath. It frightens me. Can you feel it? Stay strong and above all, stay alive.
With love, your friend,
V
 

REVIEW:

This was a story about growing up, living through horrific experience, and finding the strength to face it all. This book focuses on the experiences of a headstrong, but spoiled protagonist Valentina, and her correspondence with a soldier named 1412-9, who is at war with the rippers. The rippers are monsters who hunt human's, they were created when the advanced West nation was destroyed and laboratories poisoned the air and created a virus. The book switches between the perspectives of Valentina and the 1414-9, and worked well to describe war on the front lines and Valentina's well off lifestyle.

This book does not shy away from serious and difficult topics, this made it relateable and memorable. The characters were described well, and I found my self emotionally attached to them. This had the right amount of action and mystery to entertain me throughout this short book. I did wish some things were more drawn out, but the world building was done well enough. The beginning chapter of this book was a turn off because it involved a dream within a dream, it was confusing and jarring. It also included some world building information that could have been completely left out. The book explains this same information later in the book in a better way.
"Watching your friends peel their faces off with their nails is more than enough to make anyone lose it. "
The humor and psychological exploration between the characters added depth and were a pleasant surprise. Despite all the positive aspects of the book, it had grammar and spelling mistakes. The mistakes were a distraction, and why I couldn't rate this higher. I do want to continue on with the series, because the story is really good. The science fiction described was wonderful, and I want to see how much more it will be expanded upon.  I would recommend this to readers who enjoy young adult, science fiction and characters you can empathize with.

This ebook was provided to me from the author in exchange for an honest review.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Born in Guatemala, the high crime and corruption in her beloved country drove her to find solace within the pages of every book she could get her hands on. Her family circumstances allowed her to live in different countries and . develop a deep curiosity for foreign languages and diverse cultures. As a young adult, she was encouraged by a friend to take a different journey. A journey filled with words. Ripping Solace is her first published work. When she is not busy bulling Momo or sticking her thumb up to hitchhike an interstellar ride, she studies English literature in an effort to earn a degree. You can momentarily catch her in Florida where she arduously trains to survive a zombie apocalypse. She has no cat.
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Book Scoop April 15- April 22 2016

April 22, 2016
Book Scoop, Weekly Feature, InToriLex, Book News
Book Industry News and Links to Sift Through When Your Face Isn't buried in a Book 

HEADLINES

2016 Pulitzer Prize Winner's
A profound, startling, and beautifully crafted debut novel, The Sympathizer is the story of a man of two minds, someone whose political beliefs clash with his individual loyalties.

It is April 1975, and Saigon is in chaos. At his villa, a general of the South Vietnamese army is drinking whiskey and, with the help of his trusted captain, drawing up a list of those who will be given passage aboard the last flights out of the country. The general and his compatriots start a new life in Los Angeles, unaware that one among their number, the captain, is secretly observing and reporting on the group to a higher-up in the Viet Cong. The Sympathizer is the story of this captain: a man brought up by an absent French father and a poor Vietnamese mother, a man who went to university in America, but returned to Vietnam to fight for the Communist cause. A gripping spy novel, an astute exploration of extreme politics, and a moving love story, The Sympathizer explores a life between two worlds and examines the legacy of the Vietnam War in literature, film, and the wars we fight today.
The Sympathizer
~Amazon~ 

 Gaiman's Good Omens will Be Adapted for TV  

George Martin Talks Spin Off's

What will Happen to Prince's Memoir? 
 RIP ICON (crying purple tears)
Hamilton #1 on Broadway and in Bookstores 


HAMILTON: THE REVOLUTION gives readers an unprecedented view of both revolutions, from the only two writers able to provide it. Miranda, along with Jeremy McCarter, a cultural critic and theater artist who was involved in the project from its earliest stages--"since before this was even a show," according to Miranda--traces its development from an improbable perfor­mance at the White House to its landmark opening night on Broadway six years later. In addition, Miranda has written more than 200 funny, revealing footnotes for his award-winning libretto, the full text of which is published here.

Their account features photos by the renowned Frank Ockenfels and veteran Broadway photographer, Joan Marcus; exclusive looks at notebooks and emails; interviews with Questlove, Stephen Sond­heim, leading political commentators, and more than 50 people involved with the production; and multiple appearances by Presi­dent Obama himself. The book does more than tell the surprising story of how a Broadway musical became a national phenomenon: It demonstrates that America has always been renewed by the brash upstarts and brilliant outsiders, the men and women who don't throw away their shot.
Hamilton: The Revolution
~Amazon~

LINKS TO CLICK

On Ferrante's Annonymity 

Writer's on Books that Left A Mark



The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins is now a Movie and the Trailer has finally been released!!


Is there anything I missed in the Book World this Week?
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Ribbonworld by Richard Dee

April 21, 2016
Published By: Silverwood Books on November 2, 2015
Format Read: E-book (On Kindle) (239 pages)
Genre: Science Fiction/ Mystery/ Thriller
Series: Standalone
Source: Author in exchange for an honest review
Rating: FOUR STARS
Ribbonworld
~Amazon~
Miles Goram has a problem. All the down-on-his-luck journalist planned on doing was writing a hotel review and now there's a body in his bathroom. Far from home on a strange planet, Miles must deal with the fact that somebody wants him dead. Welcome to Reevis, a planet without days or nights where life is only possible under a vast pressure dome. It is on this airless wasteland that Miles finds himself caught up in a mystery involving a huge interplanetary corporation, a powerful man and his ambitious PA, and a beautiful young heiress who has been missing for years. Crossing the galaxy in search of answers, Miles begins to uncover a web of deceit that stretches further than anyone could have imagined. With his life becoming at greater and greater risk, he realises that there is no one he can trust. Will he discover the truth and finally come to terms with his past? And, if he does, will it be enough to save his future...?

REVIEW:  

The planet Reevis, was full of interesting characters and magnificently described features. The book starts off with Miles being exhausted from his journey to Reevis. He quickly has to cope with dangerous and strange circumstances. Exploring a newly formed Ribbonworld, with multiple groups fighting for what they think is best, was a great way for the story to unfold. The character development was done well, and Miles was a relateable guy that you wanted to root for. I did wish that Miles had revealed his past earlier in the novel. It was frustrating to me when he would refer to his past with other characters, and I didn't know what was happening. 
I was engaged in how the power struggle in the book would turn out. While there were alot of different groups involved, the author incorporated them well into the story. The pacing was done well, so the action and plot twists worked seamlessly. I did feel that the details of the machinery and how certain vehicles operated, wasn't  necessary. Overall however, the well described ice and lava fields of Reevis, led me to visualize all of it's beauty. The technology described of interplanetary travel, vertical farming and transparent holo's added the right elements of  the future, without ever seeming forced. 
"The people don't need to know everything, only what's good for them."
A powerful corporation, becoming over run by greed and criminals was not a far fetched scenario for me at all. This is a short book, so I was concerned that there would be loose ends, but everything was addressed in a satisfying ending. There was even some adorable  romance thrown in, that I enjoyed. I would recommend this to readers who enjoy science fiction, and watching mystery's unfold. 

I received this e-book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


A native of Brixham in Devon, England, Richard Dee left Devon in his teens and travelled the world in the Merchant Navy, qualifying as a Master Mariner in 1986. Coming ashore to be with his growing family, he flirted with various jobs, including dockmaster, insurance surveyor and port control officer, finally becoming a Thames pilot over twenty years ago. He regularly took vessels of all sizes through the Thames Barrier and upriver as far as London Bridge. He recently returned to live in Brixham, where he has taken up food writing and blogging. He retired from pilotage in 2015 to start an organic bakery, supplying local shops and cafés. He is married with three adult children.
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Maus I: A Survivor's Tale: My Father Bleeds History (Maus #1) by Art Spiegelman

April 20, 2016
Maus I: A Survivor's Tale: My Father Bleeds History, (Maus #1), Art Spiegelman, Book Review, InToriLex
Published By: Pantheon Books on November 1st 1991 (first August 12th 1986)
Format Read: Paperback (159 pages)
Genre: Nonfiction/ History/ Biography
Series: Book One of Maus
Source: Purchased
Rating: FOUR STARS
Maus I: A Survivor's Tale: My Father Bleeds History (Maus, #1)
~Amazon~
A story of a Jewish survivor of Hitler's Europe and his son, a cartoonist who tries to come to terms with his father's story and history itself.

REVIEW: 

I was pleasantly surprised, at how much I enjoyed this account. Most of this volume describes the family's life leading to the the Holocaust. Hearing the story told to the author through his father, who is dealing with the hardships of aging, humanized the characters beyond their experience as victims. This was an important part of the story, because most Holocaust accounts that I've read haven't focused on the people, beyond the horror they lived through. The cats as Nazi's and mice as the Jewish people,  helped portray the acts described as horrific, emphasizing how troubling that humanity came to this.
The artwork is black and white, but the artists is still able to portray the various emotions and violence well. I felt incredibly sad reading how the Spiegelman family, slowly ran out of resources, options and allies. I've never read a non-fiction graphic novel before, but was interested in this one because of the subject matter. Although most of the volume was engaging, some of the story didn't add much to the plot and so there were some slow parts.
There is some relate-able frustration, felt by the cartoonist, while he deals with a stubborn father. This contrasts the bleak reality described in the father's account. It works well because humans can be courageous through unimaginable times, and still annoying to their loves ones. We should all remember the complexity of human beings and the lasting effects of trauma. I would recommend this to everyone because it describes a story that needs to be told again and again, so that we never forget.

Let me know if you read and enjoyed this in the comments below.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Art Spiegelman (born Itzhak Avraham ben Zeev) is New-York-based comics artist, editor, and advocate for the medium of comics, best known for his Pulitzer Prize-winning comic memoir, Maus.

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