Posted in book reviews, books, reading

Tiny Navajo Reads: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab

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*Published October 6, 2020*

Okay, the very first page of this book is what grabbed my attention at the bookstore when I was just browsing around. I didn’t buy it, because I’m trying to do better about how many books I buy and DON’T read. I did request from my library though and I’m glad to say that I requested through my library.

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab

A Life No One Will Remember. A Story You Will Never Forget.

France, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets.

Thus begins the extraordinary life of Addie LaRue, and a dazzling adventure that will play out across centuries and continents, across history and art, as a young woman learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world.

But everything changes when, after nearly 300 years, Addie stumbles across a young man in a hidden bookstore and he remembers her name.

*headdesk* Okay, before anyone tries to convince me otherwise, I didn’t love this book like I was expecting to in the beginning. The beginning of this story had SO. MUCH. POTENTIAL! I’m honestly not sure what really went wrong. I have some ideas, which I will be sharing with you all today, but I’m not the author. I can’t tell you what they wanted to happen, only that it didn’t happen for me.

Addie LaRue grows up in a tiny village in France in the 1700s. She is being forced to marry, to follow in the identical footsteps of her mother, her friend, and just about every other woman around her and she is terrified. Rightly so, in my opinion, so she does what the old unmarried woman tells her, and that is to pray to the gods around you. Just don’t pray to the gods that answer after dark. Unfortunately for her, on her wedding day, moments before the ceremony, she runs to the woods and start to pray to the gods around her one last time. Only this time, she is answered…after dark. What starts as a fight to keep her life, ends with Addie making a deal that her life be bound to no one.

Fast forward 300 years, and nothing has really changed for Addie. She has lived in France, lived in Italy, and is now in the United States. Her country has gone to war several times, and there are been two world wars in her 300 years. She has learned how to steal and pickpocket. She has learned that while this may not be exactly what she asked for, she has learned to somewhat enjoy it. She has inspired art pieces over the years, and she has left her mark. Would you think that would really change a person, right? Wrong!

Addie LaRue hasn’t changed emotionally or mentally much in the 300 years of her life, other than to learn the skills she needs to keep herself fed and sheltered. And when someone forgets you the moment you leave their line of sight, that can be hard to do. But there was so much more that this premise could have shown us! What it does show us is very interesting, that any photos taken of Addie do not come out as intended, that her “curse” to be forgotten and beholden to none means that she cannot be recorded in anyway, nor can she write down her own stories of her life. But, if she can implant a seed in someone else’s mind, the mind of an artist, she can leave a mark in some small way.

I do like that part of the premise, that art has the ability to transcend time and an idea can be planted and grow and become something more than the person who first planted it. It feels a bit like the movie Inception where you can plant the seed of an idea into someone’s subconscious and it will manifest in their life eventually. I do wish we could have seen more of Addie’s life of 300 years that DIDN’T focus on her trying to get revenge on Luc. That took up too much story that could have been used to explore where Addie traveled. And I do wish she would have traveled to more places before photo ID became a thing and she essentially became stuck in one place. We, and her, could have seen more of the world and known more joy about finding and exploring new things. But nope. France, teeny, tiny part of Italy. And the whitest place in the US, New York City. All well.

I do know that a lot of people love this book, and I’m so glad you do! What I would like to hear from you guys today is why do you like this book so much? What makes you give it all 5 starts? Comment below and let me know what you think!

Posted in book reviews, children, ebook, goodreads, reading

Tiny Navajo Reads: Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes

Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes by Eleanor Coerr, illustrated by Ronald Himler

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*First published January 1, 1977*

sadako and the thousand paper cranesI was thinking of possible craft that I could do curbside for my library, or as a virtual Wednesday after-school program and I needed a book to go along with it. I remembered a picture book that I read when I was younger and it was about a Japanese girl who tried to fold a thousand paper cranes in order to make a wish. I couldn’t find the picture book I remember, but I did find this book and I had to reread it.

Born in Hiroshima in 1943, Sadako was the star of her school’s running team, until the dizzy spells started and she was forced to face the hardest race of her life-the race against time.

This is a fictionalized story about a real 12 year-old girl who develops leukemia after the United States dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima. Sadako was a active girl who was excited to run for her school’s running team. Then one day after practice she gets dizzy and falls over. She thought it was just a dizzy spell but as they start to come more and more until she was finally admitted to the hospital. It was there that she finds out that she has the “radiation sickness,” the sickness that started showing up after the United States dropped the bombs.

What really stuck with me after reading this book was how much Sadako’s friends and family loved her. They truly loved her and were willing to do what was needed in order to try and see her safely home again. One of Sadako’s friends is the one to mention the legend of folding a thousand paper cranes and once that is done, you get to make a wish. Sadako starts making her cranes and as she gets better at making the cranes, her health degrades. Eventually, we see that she loses the battle with leukemia and she leaves this life.

I knew the story of the girl and the thousand cranes from a picture book I remember reading in elementary school. I knew that the girl who folded all of those cranes didn’t make her wish and lost her life. But this is the first time that I knew her name and really knew that this was a real little girl. I love this book and I love this story, I do hope that at some point I can do this program with my kids. And I also want to introduce my library kids to different cultures.

Anyway, what books do you swear you read when you were little, but when you tried to find it you couldn’t? What do you do to find said book? Comment below and let me know, I may be able to help you find your missing childhood book.

Posted in audiobooks, book reviews, goodreads, reading

Tiny Navajo Listens: The Library at the Edge of the World

The Library at the Edge of the World by Felicity Hayes-McCoy

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*Published December 14, 2017*

the library at the edge of the worldAs a librarian, how could I not read something that is titled The Library at the Edge of the World? That just sounded so interesting to me, I had to find out what it was about. I did know that it was fiction, so not my regular fare, but I was still curious.

As she drives her mobile-library van between the villages of Ireland’s West Coast, Hanna Casey tries not to think about a lot of things. Like the sophisticated lifestyle she abandoned after finding her English barrister husband in bed with another woman. Or that she’s back in the rural Irish town she walked away from in her teens, living in the back bedroom of her overbearing mother’s retirement bungalow. Or, worse yet, her nagging fear that, as the local librarian and a prominent figure in the community, her failed marriage and ignominious return have made her the focus of gossip. But now that her teenage daughter is off traveling the world and her relationship with her own mother is growing increasingly tense, Hanna is determined to reclaim her independence by restoring a derelict cottage left to her by her great-aunt. But then the threatened closure of the Lissbeg Library puts her personal plans in jeopardy, and Hanna finds herself leading a battle to restore the heart and soul of her fragmented community.

I listened to this book while I was driving to and from work for a few days, seeing as my commute is an hour each way, I get a lot of time to listen to books. This one I did enjoy, I liked seeing how differently people view the library as well as how the “library” views people. Or, at least, how the people who work at the library view people. In this one, we have Hanna Casey, a woman who is divorced and now back living with her mother in her hometown on the West Coast of Ireland, the Edge of the World.

As Hanna works on carving out a new place of independence, she starts to learn of the possibility of Lissbeg Library, her place of work, closing and throwing all her future plans awry, she does what she has no choice to do. Make herself known as a prominent figure in the community, not just as the librarian, but someone who will do something, and do what she can to prevent Lissbeg Library from closing.

I love libraries and I love books about libraries. And while the library was a bit of a main focus, I loved that it was more of a background in order to get to know our characters and what it is that they all truly wanted in wanting to keep Lissbeg Library open. What opportunities would there be to help and strengthen community bonds in a way that has happened in years? If anything, this book helped shed some light on my own thinking about what libraries are for and about. I know that I currently work in a library, but as we’re still partially closed, it can be hard to remember that we more about community and noise and less about books and quiet.

 

Posted in audiobooks, books, comic books/graphic novels, ebook, goodreads, reading, update, writing

Tiny Navajo Reads: September Update

IT’S OCTOBER!!! I love October, I love the feeling in the air, I love the way the world changes to get ready to cool down and become winter. Granted, I don’t LIKE winter, but I love Fall, so I’ll take the cooling down just to enjoy this wonderful time of year.

So, with it now being October, we need to talk about all the books I read in September. I Screen Shot 2019-10-02 at 10.55.58 AMread a total of 23 books! Holy Moses! 23 books?!?! How on earth did I manage that? Then, as I looked through all of my read books for this month, I realized a lot of what I read this month was comics and manga, so that’s how I read 23 books this month. And some audiobooks. That also helps.

So, this month, I read: Dragonsinger, The War Outside, New Suns: Original Speculative Fiction by People of Color, Teen Titans: Raven, Ink, Iron, and Glass, Faith Vol. 1: Hollywood & Vine, Faith Vol. 2: California Scheming, Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, Faith Vol. 3: Superstar, Food Wars! Vols. 1-7, Sourdough, Dragondrums, Leven Thumps and the Gateway to Foo, Mist, Metal, and Ash, Faith: Dreamside, Animosity Vol. 2: The Dragon, The Dispatcher.

How did your September go? Are you guys excited for October? Comment below and let me know!

Posted in audiobooks, book reviews, goodreads, reading

Tiny Navajo Listens: The Help

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

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*Published January 28, 2009*

the helpI had previously read and listened to this book, but it had been a few years, so when I finished my previous audiobook, I decided to listen to this one again. It’s apparently the first time I had recorded my reading of it on Goodreads, so it’s a good thing I listened to it.

Be prepared to meet three unforgettable women:

Twenty-two-year-old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss. She may have a degree, but it is 1962, Mississippi, and her mother will not be happy till Skeeter has a ring on her finger. Skeeter would normally find solace with her beloved maid Constantine, the woman who raised her, but Constantine has disappeared and no one will tell Skeeter where she has gone.

Aibileen is a black maid, a wise, regal woman raising her seventeenth white child. Something has shifted inside her after the loss of her own son, who died while his bosses looked the other way. She is devoted to the little girl she looks after, though she knows both their hearts may be broken.

Minny, Aibileen’s best friend, is short, fat, and perhaps the sassiest woman in Mississippi. She can cook like nobody’s business, but she can’t mind her tongue, so she’s lost yet another job. Minny finally finds a position working for someone too new to town to know her reputation. But her new boss has secrets of her own.

Seemingly as different from one another as can be, these women will nonetheless come together for a clandestine project that will put them all at risk. And why? Because they are suffocating within the lines that define their town and their times. And sometimes lines are made to be crossed.

In pitch-perfect voices, Kathryn Stockett creates three extraordinary women whose determination to start a movement of their own forever changes a town, and the way women — mothers, daughters, caregivers, friends — view one another. A deeply moving novel filled with poignancy, humor, and hope, The Help is a timeless and universal story about the lines we abide by, and the ones we don’t.

The narrators for this book perfectly capture the voices of each character and bring these three different women to life. Skeeter Phelan, a young woman who dreams of writing has come home from college in 1962 Mississippi; Aibileen, a maid watching over a small child whose mother looks at her and sees only disappointment; Minny, a maid who cannot watch her mouth around her white employers. These three women are pulled together by what’s going on in Mississippi in a way neither one knew was going to happen.

As Skeeter works to write the story of the black maids working for white women in Jackson, Mississippi, she learns that there is much more going on in the background of her life than she ever realized before. Not only does she not know what happened to the woman who raised her, but no one will tell her. But as she works through her stories of the maid of Jackson, she realizes that what she believes and what she thinks about the world is very different from her friends and family.

When you read books that take place in a politically uneasy time, what are your thoughts? Do you think these books speak some truth, or do they gloss over things? Comment below and let me know!

Posted in book reviews, books, goodreads, reading

Tiny Navajo Reads: The Woman in the White Kimono

The Woman in the White Kimono by Ana Johns

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*Published May 28, 2019*

the woman in the white kimonoThe premise for this book popped up in a book river on my library’s catalogue and I got it checked out. It took me a while to actually get around to reading it and I will say that I’m glad I read it. It was quite interesting and it was a contemporary, which is a type I rarely read.

Oceans and decades apart, two women are inextricably bound by the secrets between them.

Japan, 1957. Seventeen-year-old Naoko Nakamura’s prearranged marriage to the son of her father’s business associate would secure her family’s status in their traditional Japanese community, but Naoko has fallen for another man—an American sailor, a gaijin—and to marry him would bring great shame upon her entire family. When it’s learned Naoko carries the sailor’s child, she’s cast out in disgrace and forced to make unimaginable choices with consequences that will ripple across generations.

America, present day. Tori Kovac, caring for her dying father, finds a letter containing a shocking revelation—one that calls into question everything she understood about him, her family and herself. Setting out to learn the truth behind the letter, Tori’s journey leads her halfway around the world to a remote seaside village in Japan, where she must confront the demons of the past to pave a way for redemption.

In breathtaking prose and inspired by true stories from a devastating and little-known era in Japanese and American history, The Woman in the White Kimono illuminates a searing portrait of one woman torn between her culture and her heart, and another woman on a journey to discover the true meaning of home.

This is the second contemporary that I’ve read recently that is very character driven. I quite enjoyed the story and the mystery she had to unravel about her father and his life he may have had while serving in the Navy in Japan during World War II.

Tori’s father is dying of cancer. And she isn’t ready to let him go, which is what you would expect. But when he tells her of his life before her, before her mother, Tori starts to question who her father was exactly. What kind of man leaves someone pregnant and along in Japan? So, Tori travels to Japan to see if she can figure out what her father was talking about and what she can do in order to lay her doubts to rest.

This was one of the more character-driven books that I’ve read recently, a book where a daughter learns more about her father, a daughter learns more about her mother, and how families can be entangled together, even after they’ve been separated. It was interesting to see how two different lifetimes come back together to finish a story started over 50 years ago.

What do you think of contemporary books that deal with family and character motivations? Or do you want a plot driven book? Comment below and let me know!

Posted in books, ebook, goodreads, reading

Tiny Navajo Reads: Top Ten Book Cover Redesigns

Hi guys! It’s time for another Top Ten Tuesday! TTT was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday is about cover redesigns. This is an interesting and controversial idea, because there can be a very divisive subject among book lovers. For me, I don’t mind it when book covers are redesigned, if the redesign is good (a.k.a. I like it). If the redesign is not good, then I just find a book with the original cover if possible.

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson

Dragonsong by Anne McCaffrey

Stardust by Neil Gaiman

Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede

Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

Reticence by Gail Carriger

Good Omens by Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett

The Martian by Andy Weir

Sourdough by Robin Sloan

What is your favourite redesign? Do you like movie cover redesigns or do you want publishers to leave books alone? Comment below and let me know!

Posted in books, comic books/graphic novels, ebook, goodreads, update, writing

Tiny Navajo Reads: July Update

Okay…the past few weeks have been the absolute worst. And it all culminated in me being rear-ended yesterday as I was coming back from the gym. It was just the worst and it was the reason I didn’t post a Thursday Threes yesterday. But I am here to write up how my reading in July went.

So, my reading in July, I read 7 books. 1 ebook, 1 comic, and 5 books. I read The Diary of a Bookseller, Beyond the Woods: Fairy Tales Retold, I Will Always Write Back: How One Letter Changed Two Lives, Girl with a Pearl Earring, One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd, Superman: Red Son, and Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch.

I seemed to have missed some reviews as well, so look forward to those in the next coming weeks. And, if I can ask, please send me good vibes for this coming month. I desperately need some good vibes to recover from this trash month.

How did your July reading go? Did you enjoy what you read? Comment below and let me know!

Posted in book challenge, book reviews, ebook, goodreads, reading

Tiny Navajo Reads: These Three Remain

These Three Remain (Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman #3) by Pamela Aidan

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*Published October 31, 2005*

these three remainWe are in the final stretch of this trilogy and we start to see the final changes to Darcy’s character to what we see in the final bit of Pride and Prejudice. YES! So much excitement here!

This thrilling conclusion to the Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman trilogy recounts the climactic events of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice from its enigmatic hero’s point of view.

One of the most beloved romantic heroes in all of literature, Fitzwilliam Darcy remains an enigma even to Jane Austen’s most devoted fans. But with this concluding volume in the Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman trilogy, novelist and Austen aficionada Pamela Aidan at last gives readers the man in full.

These Three Remain follows a humbled Darcy on the journey of self-discovery after Elizabeth Bennet’s rejection of his marriage proposal, in which he endeavors to grow into the kind of gentleman he’s always dreamed of being. Happily, a chance meeting with Elizabeth during a tour of his estate in Derbyshire offers Darcy a new opportunity to press his suit, but his newfound strengths are put to the test by an old nemesis, George Wickham.

Vividly capturing the colorful historical and political milieu of the Regency era, Aidan writes in a style evocative of her literary progenitor, but with a wit and humor very much her own. While staying faithful to the people and events in Austen’s original, she adds her own fascinating cast of characters, weaving a rich tapestry out of Darcy’s past and present that will beguile his admirers anew.

In this final book, we see the final changes wrought through Darcy’s character that change him from the prideful lord of the manor to the man that we, and Elizabeth, all fall in love with at the end of the Pride and Prejudice. But first, we must all suffer through Darcy’s first attempt at wooing and proposing to Elizabeth. *headdesk*

Okay, please tell me I am not the only one who was cringing through Darcy’s first proposal? Just…I had to put Pride and Prejudice down to calm down from second-hand embarrassment. Back to the review!

After this horrid crash and burn, Darcy essentially runs away. From Elizabeth and her scorching words that strike true at his core. He seeks to return to Pemberly and to his sister; to his home where he believes knows what’s going on. Once home, he is confronted by Georgiana and her questions not only about Elizabeth, but her new ideas for Pemberly as well.

The more Darcy thinks about it through and has his friends and sister talk to him about what an ass he can be, he realizes that Elizabeth may have had a point and he starts to become the man he always imagined him to be. Darcy is also given a second chance to impress Elizabeth when he realizes that she has shown up at Pemberly to tour the grounds with her aunt and uncle. This is cut short though thanks to Darcy’s old enemy, Wickham.

Darcy seeks out Wickham, knowing now that just looking out for his family has lead to disaster for Elizabeth’s family. As he seeks to rectify his past mistakes, he not only saves Elizabeth’s family from shame, but he now has to be connected to Wickham through his debts.

And I’ll stop explaining now, cause if you don’t know what happens after this, then you truly need to read these books! What was my absolute favorite about this specific book was that we can truly see Darcy become the gentleman he always thought himself to be. He grows, he accepts Elizabeth’s criticism and become the person she states he is not. In this, we see Darcy at first reject her words and in turn reject what they could mean to him that they hurt him so much. Once he acknowledges that she may have had some point, he changes. He becomes better. And he does not push his love on Elizabeth either once he meets her again, he’s very careful to respect her boundaries and let me make up her mind herself. What other guy in books or media in general does this? No one that I’ve truly seen, so I love seeing Darcy change and become better and still respect Elizabeth in the way she wants and needs to be.

What is the most positive amount of change you have ever seen in a character? Why were they changing? Comment below and let me know!

 

Posted in book reviews, books, ebook, goodreads, reading

Tiny Navajo Reads: Duty and Desire

Duty and Desire (Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman #2) by Pamela Aidan

 ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

*Published October 3, 2006*

duty and desireThis is the second in the Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman series and in this one we won’t see many familiar characters from Pride and Prejudice, except for Darcy and his younger sister, Georgiana. This is a very interesting volume, but it shows more of Darcy’s personality and I think that it’s something that we need to see.

³There was little danger of encountering the Bennet sisters ever again.²

Jane Austen’s classic novel Pride and Prejudice is beloved by millions, but little is revealed in the book about the mysterious and handsome hero, Mr. Darcy. And so the question has long remained: Who is Fitzwilliam Darcy?

Pamela Aidan’s trilogy finally answers that long-standing question, creating a rich parallel story that follows Darcy as he meets and falls in love with Elizabeth Bennet. Duty and Desire, the second book in the trilogy, covers the “silent time” of Austen’s novel, revealing Darcy’s private struggle to overcome his attraction to Elizabeth while fulfilling his roles as landlord, master, brother, and friend.

When Darcy pays a visit to an old classmate in Oxford in an attempt to shake Elizabeth from his mind, he is set upon by husband-hunting society ladies and ne’er-do-well friends from his university days, all with designs on him — some for good and some for ill. He and his sartorial genius of a valet, Fletcher, must match wits with them all, but especially with the curious Lady Sylvanie.

Irresistibly authentic and entertaining, Duty and Desire remains true to the spirit and events of Pride and Prejudice while incorporating fascinating new characters, and is sure to dazzle Austen fans and newcomers alike.

In this volume, we see what’s happening during the time when Darcy and Bingley have gone from Netherfield. We see Darcy try to justify to himself that what he did to Bingley was for his own good, and has absolutely nothing to do with getting as far away from Elizabeth as possible. This is also the time when we see Darcy try to forcibly remove Elizabeth from his mind and life by trying to find a wife.

What stands out most about this time for me is that we see how much Darcy clings to Elizabeth, almost like a talisman rather than a person. This is helpful, especially as things start to get dicey at the place where Darcy has decided to start looking for wife. The more time he spends at this old castle where things are going to pot, the more he realizes that he couldn’t have chosen a worst place to start. Superstitions and magic seem abound and as the week draws to a close, Darcy draws the conclusion that he needs to leave and leave now.

Here is where we start to see how much of a idiot Darcy is acting because he wants to forget Elizabeth. He is rude to Georgiana, is a bad friend to Bingley, and he walks into a serious situation. Granted, he is doing all of this with what he believes to be good intent, expect being rude to Georgiana. But in trying to uphold his role of being protector, brother, landlord, master, and friend Darcy starts to stretch himself too thin and it rubs him wrong. It’s why he starts to admire Elizabeth, as he feels he has someone who can support and be a friend to him; it’s also why he tries to push Elizabeth away, as he views her and her family as below his station and unfit to mix with society should he decide to marry her.

Do you like seeing a character shown a mirror of themselves? Do you think this helps them grow? Comment below and let me know!