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Sunday Post #23 September 30, 2018

September 30, 2018
InToriLex, Sunday Post
Sunday Post is a Book Blog Meme hosted at the Caffeinated Reviewer. It's a post used to summarize what has happened on your blog for the past week, and preview what's next.

LAST WEEK

COMING SOON

Review: Freshwater



Book Scoop September 28- October 5, 2018

BOOKS HAULED


What If It's Us, Becky Albertalli, Adam Silvera, InToriLex
What If It's Us by Becky Albertalli & Adam Silvera- I won this from Goodreads, and I'm so excited because I own books by both of these author's but haven't been able to read them yet. This is going to be a great introduction to their writing.
OUT October 9th from HarperTeen


The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls by Anissa Gray- I also won this from Goodreads, but was surprised it came soon after I won. This had been described as a family drama with elements of the The Mothers and An American Marriage. This is the first ARC i have for 2019, and the over is fantastic.
OUT February 19, 2019 from Berkley

LIFE LATELY

My low energy continues to plague me and unfortunately I haven't been able to find many reasons why.  I'm reading some pretty interesting books, but still haven't quite found my mojo yet.

#CurrentlyReading

A Blade So Black by L.L. McKinney- This modern day retelling of Alice in Wonderland featuring a black female teen in Atlanta stool had my interest. It features references to police brutality and race in surprising ways.

An Excess Male by Maggie Shen King-I started listening to this because women being able to have three husbands at a time is a premise I haven't come across before. I've been told that it also morphs in surprising ways, but I only recently started it.

How did your reading go this week?
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Book Scoop September 21- September 28, 2018

September 28, 2018
InToriLex, Book Scoop, Book News, Weekly Feature
For a Muse of Fire (For a Muse of Fire, #1)
Jetta’s family is famed as the most talented troupe of shadow players in the land. With Jetta behind the scrim, their puppets seem to move without string or stick—a trade secret, they say. In truth, Jetta can see the souls of the recently departed and bind them to the puppets with her blood. But the old ways are forbidden ever since the colonial army conquered their country, so Jetta must never show, never tell. Her skill and fame are her family’s way to earn a spot aboard the royal ship to Aquitan, where shadow plays are the latest rage, and where rumor has it the Mad King has a spring that cures his ills. Because seeing spirits is not the only thing that plagues Jetta. But as rebellion seethes and as Jetta meets a young smuggler, she will face truths and decisions that she never imagined—and safety will never seem so far away.

Heidi Heilig creates a world inspired by Asian cultures and French colonialism.
Vengeful (The Villains #2) by V.E. Schwab
Vengeful, The Villains #2, V.E. Schwab, InToriLex
Vengeful (Villains, #2)
~Amazon~
 The sequel to VICIOUS, V.E. Schwab's first adult novel.

Sydney once had Serena—beloved sister, betrayed enemy, powerful ally. But now she is alone, except for her thrice-dead dog, Dol, and then there's Victor, who thinks Sydney doesn't know about his most recent act of vengeance.

Victor himself is under the radar these days—being buried and re-animated can strike concern even if one has superhuman powers. But despite his own worries, his anger remains. And Eli Ever still has yet to pay for the evil he has done.
A Blade So Black by L.L. McKinney
A Blade So Black, L.L. McKinney, InToriLex
A Blade So Black
~Amazon~ 
The first time the Nightmares came, it nearly cost Alice her life. Now she's trained to battle monstrous creatures in the dark dream realm known as Wonderland with magic weapons and hardcore fighting skills. Yet even warriors have a curfew.

Life in real-world Atlanta isn't always so simple, as Alice juggles an overprotective mom, a high-maintenance best friend, and a slipping GPA. Keeping the Nightmares at bay is turning into a full-time job. But when Alice's handsome and mysterious mentor is poisoned, she has to find the antidote by venturing deeper into Wonderland than she’s ever gone before. And she'll need to use everything she's learned in both worlds to keep from losing her head . . . literally.
The Caregiver by Samuel Park
The Caregiver, Samuel Park, InToriLex
The Caregiver
~Amazon~
Mara Alencar’s mother Ana is the moon, the sun, the stars. Ana, a struggling voice-over actress, is an admirably brave and recklessly impulsive woman who does everything in her power to care for her little girl. With no other family or friends her own age, Ana eclipses Mara’s entire world. They take turns caring for each other—in ways big and small.

Their arrangement begins to unravel when Ana becomes involved with a civilian rebel group attempting to undermine the city's torturous Police Chief, who rules over 1980s Rio de Janeiro with terrifying brutality. Ana makes decisions that indelibly change their shared life. When Mara is forced to escape, she emigrates to California where she finds employment as a caregiver to a young woman dying of stomach cancer. It’s here that she begins to grapple with her turbulent past and starts to uncover vital truths—about her mother, herself, and what it means to truly take care of someone.
Did I miss anything in the book world? Let me know in the comments below
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Review: Vox by Christina Dalcher

September 24, 2018
Vox, Christina Dalcher, InToriLex
Published By: Berkley on August 21, 2018
Format Read: ARC Edition (336 pages)
Genre: Sci-fi/ Dystopia/ Feminism
Series: Stand Alone
Source: #Bookishwish on Twitter
Rating: THREE POINT FIVE STARS
Vox
~Amazon~ 
Set in an America where half the population has been silenced, VOX is the harrowing, unforgettable story of what one woman will do to protect herself and her daughter.

On the day the government decrees that women are no longer allowed more than 100 words daily, Dr. Jean McClellan is in denial—this can't happen here. Not in America. Not to her.

This is just the beginning.

Soon women can no longer hold jobs. Girls are no longer taught to read or write. Females no longer have a voice. Before, the average person spoke sixteen thousand words a day, but now women only have one hundred to make themselves heard.

But this is not the end.
For herself, her daughter, and every woman silenced, Jean will reclaim her voice.

VERDICT:

 Content Warning: Torture, Graphic Violence, Religious Extremism

REVIEW:

Dr. Jean describes her life in a not too distant future society where women cannot speak more than 100 words a day She didn't see it coming and the nightmare gets more dire throughout the book. The totalitarian government that takes over the United States is led by white Christian men who believe woman should be out of the workforce and controlled. This book paints a bleak picture of misogyny dictating every facet of women's lives. It wasn't hard to imagine because of the many ways woman are controlled and diminished in our society today. Women wear bracelets with counters and are given increasingly stronger electric shocks when they speak over their allotted words. Girls as young as three months old are fitted with bracelets. Dr. Jean's life quickly begins to change after she is offered a chance to continue her work as a doctor although it would be in service of the President.
“Think about waking up one morning and finding you don’t have a voice in anything.” 
The character development in this book was a mixed bag. Some characters  were really fleshed out and others were too quickly glossed over. The concepts and nature of oppression this book explores was powerful. However characters seemed to serve specific purposes rather than stand on their own.While the story was clunky it was engaging and traumatic to think of a future where woman literally have no voice. Fornicators, lesbian and gay men are forced into labor camps with bracelets that allow no words or are executed. History is rewritten and children are indoctrinated in schools with hate.
"They're everywhere now, the cameras. In supermarkets and schools, hair salons and restaurants, waiting to catch any gesture that might be seen as sign language, even the most rudimentary form of non-verbal communication."
As a novel this story had issues, but as an essay exploring feminism and oppression it works well. Dr. Jean's family and husband struggle to follow rules and make surprising choices while struggling to survive. It's important to reflect on how political apathy can lead our world to eat itself, this book tackles that. I did want more out of the book's ending but would still recommend it. The surprising plot points, diverse representation and feminist themes created a unique story worth reading.

Recommended for Readers who
- like to read stories that explore oppressive dystopia's
- enjoy hard hitting novels that tackles serious topics and Christianity run amok
- want to think deeply about the own life choices and societal norms

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Christina Dalcher, InToriLex,
Christina Dalcher earned her doctorate in theoretical linguistics from Georgetown University. She specializes in the phonetics of sound change in Italian and British dialects and has taught at universities in the United States, England, and the United Arab Emirates. Her short stories and flash fiction appear in over one hundred journals worldwide. Recognitions include the Bath Flash Award’s Short List; nominations for The Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net, and Best Small Fictions; and multiple other awards. She teaches flash fiction as a member of the faculty at The Muse Writers Center in Norfolk, Virginia. Laura Bradford of Bradford Literary Agency represents Dalcher’s novels. After spending several years abroad, most recently in Sri Lanka, Dalcher and her husband now split their time between the American South and Naples, Italy.
WEBSITE
TWITTER 
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Sunday Post #22 September 23, 2018

September 23, 2018
InToriLex, Sunday Post, Weekly Feature
 Sunday Post is a Book Blog Meme hosted at the Caffeinated Reviewer. It's a post used to summarize what has happened on your blog for the past week, and preview what's next.

LAST WEEK

Review: Fruit of the Drunken Tree by Ingrid Roja Contreas

COMING SOON

Review: Vox by

Review: Freshwater



Book Scoop September 21- September 28, 2018

BOOKS HAULED

The Nectar of Pain, Najwa Zebian, InToriLex
The Nectar of Pain by Najwa Zebian -This is an awesome collection of poetry about pain and loss. I won this from a giveaway hosted by the publisher. 

OUT October 2nd from Andrews McMeel Publishing

People Kill People, Ellen Hopkins, InToriLex
People Kill People by Ellen Hopkins- This a novel written in verse that tackles gun violence and white supremacy. 
OUT NOW From Margaret K. McElderry Books 

LIFE LATELY

I for the second week in a row have been unable to post to my blog regularly. I recently went to the doctors because of my uncharacteristic low energy lately. I had some blood work done, so well see. I hope it's not that I'm almost thirty and my body needs more rest. I have been able to read some but usually while falling asleep quickly.

I'm hoping for a better more productive week, and I'm also going to make a better effort to sleep more and hope that will give me the energy I need. 

#CurrentlyReading

The Final Six by Alexandra Monir- I started listening to this on audio on a whim, and I'm really enjoying it. It's about teenagers drafted to colonize a planet on Jupiter. There's action, mysteries and great diverse characters.

A Blade So Black by L.L. McKinney- This a modern day retelling of Alice in Wonderland featuring a black female teen in Atlanta. I'm really excited to finally get to this. 


How did your reading go this week?
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Review: Fruit of the Drunken Tree by Ingrid Rojas Contreras

September 18, 2018
Fruit of the Drunken Tree, Ingrid Rojas Contreras, InToriLex
Published By: Doubleday on July 31, 2018
Format Read: ARC Edition (304 pages)
Genre: Historical Fiction /Literary Fiction/ Own Voices
Series: Stand Alone
Source: Requested from Publisher
Rating: THREE POINT FIVE STARS
Fruit of the Drunken Tree
~Amazon~ 
In the vein of Isabel Allende and Gabriel Garcia Marquez, a mesmerizing debut set against the backdrop of the devastating violence of 1990's Colombia about a sheltered young girl and a teenage maid who strike an unlikely friendship that threatens to undo them both.

The Santiago family lives in a gated community in Bogotá, safe from the political upheaval terrorizing the country. Seven-year-old Chula and her older sister Cassandra enjoy carefree lives thanks to this protective bubble, but the threat of kidnappings, car bombs, and assassinations hover just outside the neighborhood walls, where the godlike drug lord Pablo Escobar continues to elude authorities and capture the attention of the nation.

When their mother hires Petrona, a live-in-maid from the city's guerrilla-occupied slum, Chula makes it her mission to understand Petrona's mysterious ways. But Petrona's unusual behavior belies more than shyness. She is a young woman crumbling under the burden of providing for her family as the rip tide of first love pulls her in the opposite direction. As both girls' families scramble to maintain stability amidst the rapidly escalating conflict, Petrona and Chula find themselves entangled in a web of secrecy that will force them both to choose between sacrifice and betrayal.

VERDICT:

Content Warning: Rape, Child Soldiers, Disturbing Violent Imagery, Extreme Poverty

REVIEW:

Chula and Petrona are two young girls struggling to grow up in a increasingly dangerous country. Chula and Petrona meet when Petrona is hired to be a maid for Chula's family. The novel is told through Petrona and Chula's point of view. They perspectives worked well, contrasting the very different thoughts and obstacles these young girls faced to survive childhood. The novel details their experiences and the political turmoil involved throughout Columbia in the 90's. The prose was engaging and the author was able to create complex and memorable characters.
We shall eat more and we shall eat less. What at dinner you have fire, for breakfast you'll have water. What is left for time, time will take away. It is only death that doesn't have a remedy.
Many disturbing and unsettling things happen to Chula and Petrona's family and the author does a good job of describing it from a child's point of view. While the characters were described masterfully the plot  did diverge and slow down in unexpected ways. As I was reading I kept hoping that it would all come together, but the ending wasn't that tidy. The diversity and unique voices in the book kept things flowing and me engaged. I learned more about Colombia and Pablo Escobar than I ever have before. Despite the slow parts of the book, I enjoyed it overall and will continue to look for more work by this author.
Multiply me when necessary,
make me disappear
when peremptory.
Transform me into light when there is shadow,
into a star
when in the dessert
Recommended for Readers who
- want to read a coming of age story that explores, race, class and Colombian History
- enjoy reading about characters dealing with serious trauma
- appreciate character driven stories

**I received this ARC from DoubleDay in exchange for an honest review. **

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ingrid Rojas Contreras, InToriLex
Ingrid Rojas Contreras is an award-winning author who was born and raised in Bogotá, Colombia. Her essays and short stories have appeared in the Los Angeles Review of Books, Electric Literature, Guernica, and Huffington Post, among others. She recently received the Mary Tanenbaum Award for non-fiction, and the Audio Miller Prize from the Missouri Review. She has been a fellow at Bread Loaf Writer's Conference and the San Francisco Writer's Grotto, and has received scholarships and support from VONA, Hedgebrook, The Camargo Foundation, Djerassi Artist Residency Program, and the National Association of Latino Arts and Culture. She is the book columnist for KQED, the Bay Area's NPR affiliate. She currently teaches writing to immigrant high school students as part of a San Francisco Arts Commission initiative bringing artists into public schools.
WEBSITE
TWITTER
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Sunday Post #21 September 16, 2018

September 16, 2018

Sunday Post, InToriLex

Sunday Post is a Book Blog Meme hosted at the Caffeinated Reviewer. It's a post used to summarize what has happened on your blog for the past week, and preview what's next.

LAST WEEK 

BLOG TOUR Review: Dream Country by Shannon Gibney

Book Scoop September 7- September 14, 2018 

COMING SOON

Review: Fruit of the Drunken Tree by Ingrid Rojas Contreras

Review: Freshwater

Review: Vox by

Book Scoop September 14- September 21, 1018

BOOKS HAULED

Street Freaks, Terry Brooks, InToriLex
Street Freaks by Terry Brooks- This a futuristic thriller from a celebrated fantasy author who is switching over to sci-fi. I'm excited to pick this up.
OUT October 2nd From Grim Oak Press 


Monstress, Vol. 3: Haven, Marjorie M. Liu , Sana Takeda, InToriLex
Monstress, Vol. 3: Haven (Monstress #3) by Marjorie M. Liu (Writer), Sana Takeda (Artist)- I am in love with this comic series, there are talking cats, evil witches, action and political intrigue you should definitely give it a read. This third volume I'm sure won't disappoint.
OUT NOW from Image Comics

LIFE LATELY

I have been overwhelmed with work and personal issues, so I haven't been able to post to my blog much last week.  I need to figure out a working schedule so I can plan ahead more, so that's going to be a goal of mine.

#CurrentlyReading

How to Love a Jamaican by Alexia Arthurs- This a great short story collection, that explores, race, identity and love with amazing prose, I'm excited to keep reading.

The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay- I started listening to this book because of Books and LaLa, an awesome booktuber who really enjoyed it. However I thought it would be a sci-fi read, this is a horror novel. I'm almost done listening to it but the suspense has been enjoyable. 
How did your reading go this week?
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Book Scoop September 7- September 14, 2018

September 14, 2018
Book Scoop, Book News, InToriLex
She Would Be King, Wayetu Moore, InToriLex
She Would Be King
~Amazon~ 
A novel of exhilarating range, magical realism, and history—a dazzling retelling of Liberia’s formation
Wayétu Moore’s powerful debut novel, She Would Be King, reimagines the dramatic story of Liberia’s early years through three unforgettable characters who share an uncommon bond. Gbessa, exiled from the West African village of Lai, is starved, bitten by a viper, and left for dead, but still she survives. June Dey, raised on a plantation in Virginia, hides his unusual strength until a confrontation with the overseer forces him to flee. Norman Aragon, the child of a white British colonizer and a Maroon slave from Jamaica, can fade from sight when the earth calls him. When the three meet in the settlement of Monrovia, their gifts help them salvage the tense relationship between the African American settlers and the indigenous tribes, as a new nation forms around them.
 The Echo Room by Parker Peevyhouse
The Echo Room, Parker Peevyhouse, InToriLex
The Echo Room
 Rett wakes on the floor of a cold, dark room. He doesn’t know how he got there, only that he’s locked in. He’s not alone—a girl named Bryn is trapped in the room with him. When she finds a mysterious bloodstain and decides she doesn’t trust Rett, he tries to escape on his own—

Rett wakes on the floor of the same cold, dark room. He doesn’t trust Bryn, but he’ll have to work with her if he ever hopes to escape. They try to break out of the room—

Rett and Bryn hide in a cold, dark room. Safe from what’s outside.

But they’re not alone. 
Intercepted (Playbook #1) by Alexa Martin 
Intercepted, (Playbook #1), Alexa Martin, InToriLex
Intercepted
Marlee thought she scored the man of her dreams only to be scorched by a bad breakup. But there's a new player on the horizon, and he's in a league of his own...

Marlee Harper is the perfect girlfriend. She's definitely had enough practice by dating her NFL-star boyfriend for the last ten years. But when she discovers he has been tackling other women on the sly, she vows to never date an athlete again. There's just one problem: Gavin Pope, the new hotshot quarterback and a fling from the past, has Marlee in his sights.

Gavin fights to show Marlee he's nothing like her ex. Unfortunately, not everyone is ready to let her escape her past. The team's wives, who never led the welcome wagon, are not happy with Marlee's return. They have only one thing on their minds: taking her down. But when the gossip makes Marlee public enemy number one, she worries about more than just her reputation.

Between their own fumbles and the wicked wives, it will take a Hail Mary for Marlee and Gavin's relationship to survive the season.
Rule (Rule #1) by Ellen Goodlett 
Rule, (Rule #1), Ellen Goodlett, InToriLex
Rule
Three girls with three deadly secrets. Only one can wear the crown.

The king is dying, his heir has just been murdered, and rebellion brews in the east. But the kingdom of Kolonya and the outer Reaches has one last option before it descends into leaderless chaos.

Or rather, three unexpected options.

Zofi has spent her entire life trekking through the outer Reaches with her band of Travelers. She would do anything to protect the band, her family. But no one can ever find out how far she's already gone.

Akeylah was raised in the Eastern Reach, surrounded by whispers of rebellion and abused by her father. Desperate to escape, she makes a decision that threatens the whole kingdom.

Ren grew up in Kolonya, serving as a lady's maid and scheming her way out of the servants' chambers. But one such plot could get her hung for treason if anyone ever discovers what she's done.

When the king summons the girls, they arrive expecting arrest or even execution. Instead they learn the truth: they are his illegitimate daughters, and one must become his new heir. But someone in Kolonya knows their secrets, and that someone will stop at nothing to keep the sisters from their destiny... to rule.

Magic, mystery, and blackmail abound in this sensational and striking fantasy debut.
Did I miss anything in the book world? Let me know in the comments below
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BLOG TOUR Review: Dream Country by Shannon Gibney

September 13, 2018
Shannon Gibeney, Dream Country, Blog Tour , InToriLex
Shannon Gibney, Dream Country, InToriLex
Published By: Dutton Books for Young Readers on September 11, 2018
Format Read: ARC Edition (337 pages)
Genre: Young Adult/ Historical Fiction/ Own Voices
Series: Stand Alone
Source: Blog Tour/ Publisher
Rating: FOUR STARS
Dream Country
~Amazon~
Dream Country begins in suburban Minneapolis at the moment when seventeen-year-old Kollie Flomo begins to crack under the strain of his life as a Liberian refugee. He's exhausted by being at once too black and not black enough for his African American peers and worn down by the expectations of his own Liberian family and community. When his frustration finally spills into violence and his parents send him back to Monrovia to reform school, the story shifts. Like Kollie, readers travel back to Liberia, but also back in time, to the early twentieth century and the point of view of Togar Somah, an eighteen-year-old indigenous Liberian on the run from government militias that would force him to work the plantations of the Congo people, descendants of the African American slaves who colonized Liberia almost a century earlier. When Togar's section draws to a shocking close, the novel jumps again, back to America in 1827, to the children of Yasmine Wright, who leave a Virginia plantation with their mother for Liberia, where they're promised freedom and a chance at self-determination by the American Colonization Society. The Wrights begin their section by fleeing the whip and by its close, they are then the ones who wield it. With each new section, the novel uncovers fresh hope and resonating heartbreak, all based on historical fact.

In Dream Country, Shannon Gibney spins a riveting tale of the nightmarish spiral of death and exile connecting America and Africa, and of how one determined young dreamer tries to break free and gain control of her destiny.

VERDICT:

 Content Warning: Rape, Substance Abuse, Graphic Violence, Sexually Explicit Language

REVIEW:

This is a unflinching look at the many ways Liberia is tied to African American history. I only knew little about Liberian history and the African American colony there started by slaves, before reading this book. This book follows a family throughout time and across continents who have survived American slavery, Liberian Civil War and immigrating to America to start over. The changing point of views stood out as distinct and interesting voices.The whole story is non linear and lacks clear paths or conclusions. It uses intimate details and relationships to give you an abstract way of looking at history through fictionalized events.
 "This is what the demons tech us to survive to become two people at once. To hide ourselves in plain sight . What kind of sick learning is this?"
Kollie is a recent Liberian immigrant struggling to fit in with African Americans in high school, unable to connect with peers who bully and make fun of his culture. Togar is a indigenous Liberian who is forced to leave his home and family after his village is raided by Congo people who steal indigenous men and force them into labor. Yasmine is a young mother who sets out with her four children to Liberia to escape the horrors of slavery and build a new country with a better future for her children. Ujay is a Liberian University student trying to support revolution in a divided country.  The horrors and heartbreak throughout their stories was shocking but something I felt was the only way to convey the true tragedy of Liberian history.
"If words were the only tools at your disposal to make sense of a lineage in two countries that never seemed to align or intersect in ways that made you feel like anything but a perpetual foreigner in either place , you too would have spent the last three years in a small room behind a computer screen, desperately punching out a invented history."
The story and characters are great but segments of the book were a bit too drawn out and slow paced. There is a segment at the back of the book listing major events in Liberian history. I suggest reading that first  to make sense of some of the glossed over details about Liberia throughout the book.  I emotionally connected with and learned a lot from these characters. This story will make you reflect on family race and identity in memorable and important ways. 

Recommended for Readers who
- enjoy family sagas spanning continents and generations
- want to learn more about Liberian History and the African American colony built by ex-slaves
- can digest serious topics and tragedy told in a straight forward way
**I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.**

 ABOUT THE AUTHOR

InToriLex, Shannon Gibney
Shannon Gibney is an author and university professor. Her novel See No Color, drawn from her life as a transracial adoptee, won the Minnesota Book Award and was hailed by Kirkus as "an exceptionally accomplished debut" and by Publishers Weekly as "an unflinching look at the complexities of racial identity." Her essay "Fear of a Black Mother" appears in the anthology A Good Time for the Truth. She lives with her two Liberian-American children in Minneapolis, Minnesota. 
WEBSITE
TWITTER
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