Fox 8- George Saunders *Short Story Review!*

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This adorable little hardcover has been eyeballing me from across the bookstore ever since I started working there. I have a perfect view of its display from my spot behind the counter and this past Sunday, I finally decided to break the ice and get acquainted.

I’ve never read anything by George Saunders before so I went into this with zero expectations. I like foxes (if you couldn’t tell) and I felt like a short story would really hit the spot.

Here I shud say, all my life, I have had kwite curative day-dreems. They wud just come upon me. And I wud enjoy them. With some favrits being:

Some Yumans heer me speeking Yuman so gud they give me some Chiken, and I sit rite at there Table. And they go: How is it being a fox?

And I go: Fine.

And they go: Foxes are our favrit animal

And I go: Thanks.

And they go: Why o why were we so stupid as to choose Dogs for our mane pets?

And I go: I reely don’t know.

Fox 8 is a little odd compared to the rest of his pack. He has taken up an interest in learning to speak “Yuman” by sitting outside a house and listening to a Yuman mother read bedtime stories to her Yuman pups. His forest is being taken over by construction and his pack is going hungry. He uses his proficiency for language to try and save them and to give a warning to us Yuman readers about our impact on the environment.

I really really enjoyed this story and I can’t wait to start recommending it to people in the hopes that they will get as much out of it as I did. It’s been a while since I’ve read something so very unique and memorable. The writing in this story takes a bit of time to get used to (it’s “written” by a fox who cannot spell most things correctly) but in the end I think it just makes some of the statements that much more heartwarming.

If you’re looking for a little gift for those environmentally-conscious animal lovers in your life, this story is a great choice!

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Final Verdict:

☆☆☆☆☆ 5/5 Stars

Find this book on GoodReads

 

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First Lines Fridays: 12/07/2018

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First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
  • Finally… reveal the book!

First line:

I bowled with Mackey and Slade Wednesday nights, it started because we all worked at the Pump ‘N Munch together, now I was the only one who worked there.


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Intrigued? Be sure to check this book out, it’s a really good one, and super underappreciated too!

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Read about it on Goodreads

Purchase it from Amazon

Down the TBR Hole Part I

So I’ve seen a number of my WordPress peers take part in this challenge started by Lia from lostinastory and I thought I’d give it a shot myself. I mean, whose TBR isn’t an ever-growing monster of a list?

At this time I have 301 titles on my to-be-read list.

If you’re unfamiliar with this challenge, here are the rules:

  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

So let’s get right into it! First off we have:

1. Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

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GoodReads avg rating: 4.07

Genre: Fantasy, YA

Date added: Dec. 31, 2017

own it (paperback) // don’t own it

So I remember seeing this book on display years and years ago in my high school library. I was immediately drawn to the cover because it’s super gorgeous. Upon picking it up and reading the blurb though… I wasn’t into it, so I put it back and went on my way. Since joining the bookish community on Instagram and Tumblr and all that however, I’ve been told over and over again how incredible this book supposedly is. Similarly, I’ve heard some really nasty rants about how awful it is too.

So… where does that leave me? At this point I don’t have high expectations for it by any means so I’m not too worried about it being overhyped for me. It’s also a short enough book that I still feel like I could give it a chance. If it were a 500-something page book I’d say forget it and move on.

Final verdict: keep // toss

2. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

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GoodReads avg rating: 4.46

Genre: Fantasy, YA/middle grade

Date added: Dec. 31, 2017

own it (paperback) // don’t own it

Yeah guys, I haven’t read Harry Po- STOP BOOING ME, I KNOW.

I was 7 years old when the movie for Prisoner of Azkaban came out and the scene where Remus Lupin turns into a werewolf scared the living shit out of me and so I steered clear of anything Harry Potter related for apparently the rest of my life up until this point. I actually got about 70 pages into this book before my ADHD kicked in, distracted me, and I just haven’t gotten back to it yet. I really enjoyed what I’ve read so far and I fully intend to read this series I PROMISE.

Final verdict: keep // toss

3. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater 

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GoodReads avg rating: 4.06

Genre: Fantasy, YA

Date added: Dec. 31, 2017

own it (hardcover) // don’t own it

This is another one of those books that I’ve been playing tag with over the years but haven’t yet properly sat down to read. I think I’ve read the first 30 pages twice, but both times something else in life has come up and I just keep finding other things to read instead. This book series is a favorite to a number of my friends who have been begging me to read it, so this verdict is an easy one for me.

Final verdict: keep // toss

4. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

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GoodReads avg rating: 4.02

Genre: Fantasy, YA/middle grade

Date added: Dec. 31, 2017

own it // don’t own it

I’m pretty sure I added this around the time that the movie was coming out. Then I heard the movie was crap and I forgot all about the book. My boyfriend insists it’s good but I’m very particular about middle grade fiction. I feel very iffy about this one. I do kind of want to read it still but it’s very very low on my list of priorities.

Final verdict: keep (for now) // toss

5. The Crimson Labyrinth by Yuske Kishi

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GoodReads avg rating: 3.71

Genre: Horror, Fiction

Date added: Dec. 31, 2017

own it // don’t own it

Now here’s a book that looks like you’ll either love it or hate it. I’m a big fan of Japanese literature, especially Japanese horror. The synopsis quips that fans of Battle Royale will enjoy this. Ho ho ho, did someone say… one of my favorite books of all time??? Dudes, I fucking love BR and I could read it over and over again a million times. I hate to be that person but I’m a sucker for those “if you love ___, you’ll love ___!” statements. So honestly, based on that alone I’d like to give this book a fair shot. That being said, maybe I’ll see about getting it from the library before I spend money on it.

Final verdict: keep // toss

 

Thank you all for joining me on this wonderful adventure! Have you read any of these books? Am I making good decisions? Let me know! I’ll see you in my next installment of Down the TBR Hole.

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Top 3 Thursday: Series!📚

Just a reminder in case you’re unaware, I’m participating in this Top 3 Thursday meme started by Mel from acosyreader! I’ve done this challenge twice already so if you’re interested, my top 3 bookish foods post is here and my top 3 minor characters post is here!

So…I’m really bad at reading series. I love them but I’m horrible at keeping up with them. It always ends up that while I’m waiting to get the next book in a series, I pick something else up and five months go by just like that. So while I have a lot of partially finished series I’m enjoying, I’m only going to include series I’ve finished.


1. Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Laini Taylor)

Was this a surprise? I knew about halfway through the sequel that this was going to be an all time favorite series of mine. I very recently reviewed the trilogy as a whole as well as the first book by itself.

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2. Percy Jackson and the Olympians (Rick Riordan)

This book series honestly shaped me as a child. It was one of the first series I ever became super obsessed with and I still think of it fondly. The second and third books aren’t fantastic in my opinion but they’re still very good. The fourth book, again in my opinion, is basically a masterpiece. I’m currently rereading this series with a good friend of mine from Bookstagram so I’ll hopefully have a series review up in the next few weeks.

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3. Black Bird (Kanoko Sakurakoji)

This is actually a manga series! I have a long history with these books as I got the first two volumes when I was 12 (definitely not age appropriate) and I spent years waiting for the rest of them to be translated into English. I now have the completed story, all 18 volumes, which makes it the only manga series of which I own every volume (besides Beast Master which only has two volumes).

I’m not sure I would necessarily recommend this series nowadays since the story and characters are kinda problematic. The themes are pretty hetero and I could see why people would have issues reading this. That being said it’s still very near and dear to my heart because it offered me an escape during some pretty hard times.

What are your favorite book series?

3, 2, 1 Quote Me! Tag

Happy Thursday everyone! How are you all holding up this week?

I started back at college so it’s been a little crazy for me! I was tagged a couple weeks ago by the wonderful Ash from Bookwormmuse. Thank you so much for including me!


THE RULES

  1. Thank the Selector.
  2. Post 2 quotes for the dedicated Topic of the Day.
  3. Select 3 bloggers to take part in ‘3.2.1 Quote Me!’

Note: Although this is the topic for today there is no specific deadline to it, meaning you can answer as and when


Topic: Food, Glorious Food

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“Ask not what you can do for your country. Ask what’s for lunch.”
― Orson Welles

“I cook with wine, sometimes I even add it to the food.”
― W.C. Fields


TAG, YOU’RE IT! (If you want to, of course)

Jenacidebybibliophile | Bookandpages | Briannathebookworm

 

Top 3 Thursday: Sidekicks/Minor Characters

This is my second week participating in the Top 3 Thursday meme started by Mel from acosyreader.com! This week we’re talking about our favorite supporting characters. Let’s get right into it!

1.Zuzana (Daughter of Smoke and Bone)

If I could pick a fictional character to be my best friend in real life, Zuzana would be a top choice for me. She crosses a desert and rides a flying monster through a fantasy world to have her friend’s back. She’s loyal and fierce as hell.

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Art is by BlackBirdInk

2. Shogo Kawada (Battle Royale)

I liked Shogo more than the main character! He’s this quiet exchange student that no one really talks to but once the game begins, this dude is pro. I’d kill (pun intended) to have him on my team.

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3. Marjorie (A Head Full of Ghosts)

This book is told from the point of view of Marjorie’s little sister Merry but Marjorie is the star of the show the whole time. I was glued to my seat, furiously reading this book to find out what Marjorie was doing and what happened to her. Seriously, this book is so riveting because of her and I still think about it all the time.

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Who are your favorite supporting characters? Share them with me in the comments! As always, thanks for stopping by ❤

The Coffee Book Tag ☕

I saw Ash the bookwormmuse do this tag the other day and I thought it looked super fun! I love coffee and I love books so let’s get started!

BLACK: NAME A SERIES THAT’S TOUGH TO GET INTO BUT HAS HARDCORE FANS

A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin. This series can be kind of a hard sell for a number of reasons. To start, it’s super long and is infamous for containing six million characters (only a slight exaggeration). It’s also has a lot of adult themes and tons of violence. Like trigger warnings galore for these books: rape, violence, incest, torture, etc. Then there’s the fact that it’s been seven years since the latest book came out and the author is constantly pushing back the release date for the next in the series. Many die-hard fans are convinced that Martin will never finish the final two books.

With all that to consider it can be hard to imagine how anyone could get into these books but this is a ride or die fandom spanning all platforms. Tumblr is drowning in GOT moodboards and fanfiction, Reddit has two highly populated subreddits devoted to the series, there’s countless fanpages on Instagram (excluding the bookish accounts that post other books in addition to Thrones), and Youtube is a hotbed for discussion videos and fan theories. It’s not surprising considering how many plot lines and characters there are to discuss, and since the books aren’t over, it can be fun to speculate about what will happen to everyone.

Personally, I only have the first book under my belt and I’ve seen the entirety of the HBO adaptation twice. I do plan on catching up with the rest of the books but there is a part of me that worries I’m wasting my time if the series never gets finished anyway… Please, Almighty Martin, hear our plea, stop writing spin off novels and just write the books we’re begging you to finish.

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PEPPERMINT MOCHA: NAME A BOOK THAT GETS MORE POPULAR IN THE WINTER OR A FESTIVE TIME OF THE YEAR

Okay, I’m actually going to make a prediction here and say A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas. It was released earlier this year and has been fairly popular since but I’m going to estimate that we’ll all be seeing a jump in posts and reviews for it come say… November. I myself bought the book upon its release and have been holding off on reading it for a more appropriate season, so I’ll be one of those review posters in the winter-time.

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HOT CHOCOLATE: WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CHILDHOOD BOOK?

The Poppy series or the Tales of Dimwood Forest by Avi got me into so much trouble as a kid! I was immediately drawn into the cover that conveys some horror and suspense as the bright yellow eyes of Ocax the owl bore into our sweet little field mouse Poppy.

I used to be obsessed with this series back in third grade, around the time when I started picking out books for myself as opposed to reading what my parents bought me. I remember so well (20 year old me is still scarred and shamed) reading Poppy under my desk at the start of the school day and not realizing the rest of my class had been standing for the pledge of allegiance and I was totally lost in this book.

Mrs. Frank called me out saying, “Olivia, would you care to join us?” All eyes were on me and my burning red face. Of course I stood and said the pledge but to myself I was thinking, uhh no, I’d much rather be reading right now.

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DOUBLE SHOT OF ESPRESSO: NAME A BOOK THAT KEPT YOU ON THE EDGE OF YOUR SEAT FROM START TO FINISH

Oh my God, Penpal by Dathan Auerbach. I was in highschool talking to a friend of mine during our free period when I saw he was carrying a book with a spooky cover. He began telling me a bit about it: our main character is an adult and going back through his childhood memories as he realizes some really sinister sh*t happened to him. I asked my friend, “So is the antagonist like a monster or a real person?” He wouldn’t tell me. He just kinda tossed the book to me and said I’d have to read it to find out. I wasn’t disappointed. Penpal is the only book I’ve ever read that genuinely terrified me and kept me up at night. Have I mentioned that Horror is one of my favorite genres? I don’t scare very easily and this book had me looking over my shoulder constantly and begging my brother and parents to not leave me at home alone. I was 16 or 17 when I read it.

Don’t be discouraged at the fact that this book started as chapters on Reddit’s Nosleep community. People hear that and immediately want to dismiss it because (and this is true) most stories on there are written by amateurs and it usually shows. Nosleep is fun but it’s not great for riveting storytelling by any means. HOWEVER, this story changed the game. You wouldn’t believe how many stories I’ve read on Nosleep in years since that take elements or plot twists that are clear rips from Penpal. The first chapter “Balloons” has been copied and redone countless times because its freaking amazing. Please don’t let its humble beginnings turn you off. This is a genuinely scary story well worth the time it takes to finish it.

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STARBUCKS: NAME A BOOK YOU SEE EVERYWHERE

Sarah J. Maas must be so blown away by how successful she’s become. Like I remember hearing about how she first posted Throne of Glass (or what ever it started as) on fictionpress.com a site for amateur fiction writers that I was using at the time. Now she’s the author of two of the most popular YA series going right now besides Harry Potter.

I just finished the ACOTAR series minus ACOFAS earlier this year and while I don’t think the series is like God’s gift to the world, I enjoyed it a lot. I see those books EVERYWHERE.

I do see Throne of Glass all over the place too thought maybe just slightly less. From that series I’ve read The Assassin’s Blade, Throne of Glass (twice), and Crown of Midnight. I do intend to finish the books at some point but I’ve heard that starting with Heir of Fire, the series turns completely on its head and that kinda worries me because I absolutely adored those first three books. I remember finishing Crown of Midnight and that final plot twist just had me like “wut…” so I bought Heir of Fire when it came out but it’s been sitting on my bookshelf for years because that plot twist just made me want to take a nap as opposed to making me really excited to continue.

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THAT HIPSTER COFFEE SHOP: GIVE A BOOK BY AN INDIE AUTHOR A SHOUTOUT

JEREMY ROBERT JOHNSON DOES NOT GET AS MUCH LOVE AS HE DESERVES. Okay but seriously, his books have actually changed my life. They have shaped me as a human being and gotten me through the roughest years of my life.

His style is classified as Bizarro and if you’re confused it’s okay, just bear with me. Wikipedia puts it nice and succinctly in the first sentence of its entryBizarro fiction is a contemporary literary genre, which often uses elements of absurdism, satire, and the grotesque, along with pop-surrealism and genre fiction staples, in order to create subversive, weird, and entertaining works.” So it’s usually a mix of horror and scifi. It often contains sexual themes as well. Picture like a classic slasher movie with a bit more satire and social-awareness and that’s the genre we’re working with. I definitely don’t recommend any of this to kids or people who are easily triggered by mature themes.

Most Bizarro fiction is fun, short, and fairly disposable. Some Bizarro authors, however, use the medium to discuss some really hard hitting and important topics such as mental health, addiction, consumerism, and gun control. JRJ is one of these authors. He has spoken in a number of his books about his struggles with drug addiction and how writing has helped him to heal.

If you’re interested in trying out his stuff I suggest starting with his short story collections, in this order: Angeldust Apocalypse then We Live Inside You. From there I recommend trying out Skullcrack City and Extinction Journals. I would save Siren Promised and In the River for last since they have the most complex themes and are the most relatable and hard hitting.

OOPS! I ACCIDENTALLY GOT DECAF: NAME A BOOK YOU WERE EXPECTING MORE FROM

The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco. I absolutely loved Chupeco’s debut novel, The Girl From the Well and The Bone Witch had both a gorgeous cover and an incredible synopsis. One could say my expectations were on the high side.

The descriptions in the book were gorgeous but that’s pretty much the only thing I loved about it. The lore was interesting but there just wasn’t enough of it. The blurb promises action, political intrigue, and a kingdom in turmoil but I don’t know where any of that stuff was besides in the super rushed ending that encompassed the last 50 or so pages.

You can read my full review of The Bone Witch here.

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THE PERFECT BLEND: NAME A BOOK OR SERIES THAT WAS BOTH BITTER AND SWEET, BUT WAS ULTIMATELY SATISFYING

Can I say Daughter of Smoke and Bone again? I’m going to go with The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. I don’t want to talk too much about this book because I think you should just dive into it without any expectations. The ending is both bitter and sweet because our protagonist, Starr, has come a very long way since the beginning but she will be forever changed by the experiences she’s had. This book is super important and relevant and I highly recommend it to everyone.

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GREEN TEA: NAME A BOOK OR SERIES THAT IS QUIETLY BEAUTIFUL

Have you ever heard of The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery? I hadn’t either until my junior year of highschool when we were tasked with writing a ten page essay on the human condition and I was stumped. My English teacher suggested I pick one of two books she thought I’d like: Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro and The Elegance of the Hedgehog. I chose to read both and compare and contrast their themes in my essay. These two books simultaneously saved my life that year and solidified themselves as my all time favorites. Elegance has been bumped down a few on the list in the years since then but it still has a very special place in my heart and I’ll always cherish what it taught me.

The Elegance of the Hedgehog is the story of two women who live in the same place but lead incredibly different lives. First is twelve year old Paloma living with her wealthy French family in a lavish apartment complex in Paris. Paloma is going to kill herself and set the apartment on fire but first she wants to work on her journal where she collects thoughts about all of the beautiful things (and not so beautiful things) she finds in the world. She hopes that maybe it will be enough to make her want to live. Downstairs, lives the concierge Renee, an old grouch of a woman who loathes these bourgeoisie families who look down on her. She enjoys the fine things in life like Tolstoy. Both of these women hide their true intelligence from the world and as time goes on their paths intersect and they have profound influences on each other.

This book isn’t for everyone. It can be like reading a philosphy textbook at times and even I came close to DNFing it about halfway through. I can’t explain to you how worth it was for me to finish it. I came away having a better understanding and appreciation for myself and the world at large.

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CHAI TEA: NAME A BOOK OR SERIES THAT MAKES YOU DREAM OF FAR OFF PLACES

They don’t have to be real places right? For this I’m going with The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson. I’m only 66 pages in (out of 1100 or so…) but already there is so much lore! The world building here is immense and expertly crafted. The magic system is super cool and interesting and the characters are very likable so far! I can’t wait to dive back in and see where else the story takes me!

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EARL GREY: NAME YOUR FAVORITE CLASSIC

I have not read very many classics. I often have a hard time keeping up with dated writing styles and so more often than not I steer clear of them. There are a few that I’ve enjoyed over the years though. For one is Macbeth by Shakespeare. It’s a super cool story with characters that have clear influences on modern characters (Lady Macbeth is Cersei Lannister *cough cough*). If Not, Winter is a translation of poem fragments my Sappho and while it’s hard to glean meaning from most of them I find them very pretty.

My all time favorite classic though is The Crucible by Arthur Miller which I could argue (depending on my mood) is actually my favorite book of all time. I’v read it more times than any other book and I feel like I pick up on new stuff each time. There are some great lessons and social commentary in this play. John Proctor is one of my favorite literary characters ever and his line that goes, “I speak my own sins, I cannot judge another; I have no tongue for it,” is a favorite of mine. His whole speech at the end about his name makes me cry without fail every time.

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Unfortunately I’m not sure who has done this tag before so if you read this and you want to do it, I tag you!! Send me the link to your post so I can read it, I’m super curious about other answers to these questions. As always, thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoy the rest of your day. ❤