It’s that time of the week again where we ask the lovely blog owner: WHATCHA READIN’? In this weekly segment, I give a brief glimpse into the books that are currently occupying my spare time, as well as a little recap of the past seven days, overall.
So, Amber, whatcha readin’?
Can you believe it’s the middle of November already? Where is this month flying off to? We’re only a week away from Thanksgiving — if you’re in the US — and only weeks away from 2016; this is absolutely crazy! I’ve been focusing a lot more this week on getting caught up with Writing 101, book tags, and blog awards on which I’ve fallen behind. There are still a few more things I need to catch up on, but I might be able to complete those tomorrow morning before work. There’s also a book haul post I need to organize, but I’ve posted a picture of said haul on Instagram, so pop over there for a sneak peek. In terms of my reading life this week, I obviously finished Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo and am still reeling from how good it was. I want to start Siege and Storm now, but I have so many other books I need to read first. Additionally, I finished The Secrets We Kept by Lily Velez over the weekend, which dealt with a lot of issues that are very near and dear to my heart. I can’t wait to review it for the blog tour next month. This week, I started three new books that range from exciting to just…blah. Let’s get started!
Maggie Stiefvater is a bit of a hometown hero for me, as she hails from the same region of Virginia where I spent my undergrad. Recently, I’ve been talking a lot on this blog about how much I loved the Shiver series, but had yet to start her other popular series, The Raven Cycle. I just started this late Friday night immediately after finishing Shadow and Bone, but we ended up being exceedingly busy Saturday night at work, so I haven’t yet had the time to get too far into this one. However, I am intrigued to learn that she based Henrietta, Virginia around a city I know exceedingly well, so I’m excited to see what she does with the Shenandoah region. I’m literally something like 10 or 15 pages into the book, so I can’t even begin to speculate on how this is going to go. If it’s anything like Shiver, though, I have reason to be excited.
This is the third of the books I’m reading as part of the Xpresso Blog Tour Bonanza I’m doing next month (aka I’m on three tours in two weeks; what the hell). I’m about 90 pages into the book so far, and it’s interesting enough. Center Stage! follows Allison Burch, a sixteen-year-old girl who has always dreamed of stardom; her best friend, Taylor, is the daughter of one of the world’s most famous bands, but Allison has always been the one who felt the call toward the stage. She auditions for a show similar to The Voice and is one of only two contestants who was unanimously voted onto the show by the judges. At this point, the first episode hasn’t aired and she’s going through her first week of vocal training for the show. To be frank, none of the characters in this book are particularly likable at this point. Allison’s coach is two-faced and nasty, her fellow contestants are venomous, and Allison herself is the epitome of a Mary-Sue. I don’t know, maybe it’s too early to tell, but we’ll see how it ends up.
The Phantom of the Opera is one of my favorite musicals of all time, bar none, no questions asked. I’ve read a fair amount of fanfiction about the musical in my day and will latch onto any kind of retelling I can get my hands on. However, there’s always a tangible difference between fanfiction writing and professional writing. Phantom’s Dance by Lesa Howard, so far, falls in the former category. This story follows Christine Dadey, an aspiring prima ballerina, as she struggles through fully immersing herself in the emotional side of dance. After a chance meeting in her apartment building’s elevator, she quickly falls for the charming and cultured Raoul Chaney; however, Christine has a chance “meeting” with a mysterious, faceless dancer who insists on staying hidden due to a freak accident. He says he can help her put her soul into her art, but is it too good to be true? I just…I’m so disappointed by this book. I understand that this is a retelling, but at least make it interesting. Christine’s performance-triggered PTSD is poorly hand-waved away (and this is from someone who has PTSD). At least it’s a quick read.