Between the Bookends: 5 Books We Read in May 2018

Between the Bookends, Image: Sophie Brown
Between the Bookends, Image: Sophie Brown

In this month’s Between the Bookends, Sophie, Mel, and K explore everything from picture books to (very) adult fiction and everything in-between. We hope you find something to enjoy!

Children of Blood and Bone, Image: MacMillan Audio
Children of Blood and Bone, Image: MacMillan Audio

Children of Blood & Bone (Legacy of Orïsha, #1) by Tomi Adeyemi, Narrated by Bahni Turpin

Zélie remembers the day the vengeful king ordered the removal of all magic and those that possess powers—including Zélie’s mother, a reaper. With the help of the rogue princess, Zélie journeys to fulfill her destiny to bring magic back to the land of Orïsha.

Children of Blood & Bone is a West African fantasy YA novel that takes place in the fictional land of Orïsha. The story follows protagonist Zélie Adebola and each chapter follows a different character POV, allowing the reader to fully immerse into the story through the eyes of different characters. Mel was hesitant to listen to this YA novel since YA has not been good to her lately. But, wow! If you are going to read a YA novel in 2018, read this one.

Mel appreciated Adeyemi’s respect for her readers. Few authors take the time to fully develop their characters, plot, or world building but that is not the case with this novel. With 500-ish pages in her book, Tomi Adeyemi doesn’t waste a single page and her storyline is so tight that it leaves the reader mesmerized. Mel loved this novel so much she sacrificed sleep for a couple of days to inhale this novel, and when you have a seven-month-old teething baby, sleep is a commodity you don’t waste. By the time Mel reached the end of the novel she felt depressed; she didn’t want the magic to end.

Mel listened to Children of Blood and Bone on Audible, and Bahni Turpin breathes life into Tomi Adeyemi’s debut novel. Children of Blood & Bone released in March and there is already a movie deal in the making. So, do yourself a favor and get Children of Blood & Bone because the hype is real. This is the YA novel of 2018!

Get Smart, Image: Gildan Media, LLC
Get Smart, Image: Gildan Media, LLC

Get Smart: How to Think and Act Like the Most Successful and Highest-Paid People in Every Field by Brian Tracy, Narrated by the author

There isn’t anything fundamentally groundbreaking in Get Smart by Brian Tracy, but if you are looking for insight into the motivation behind successful people and how to maximize productivity by establishing good habits and building a positive mindset, then this is a good starting point. Get Smart basically breaks down different methods of thinking chapter-by-chapter, for example, mechanical vs. creative thinking or entrepreneurial vs. corporate thinking. Tracy takes an in-depth look at the function of certain types of thinking and how the reader can apply those methods to their lifestyle.

Overall, Mel found some gems, but nothing she hasn’t heard before in a Ted Talk. The only qualm Mel had with the audiobook was the author’s narration. Tracy took unnecessary pauses in-between every few words. So much so that the pauses distracted from the book’s message. At one point, Mel turned the Narration Speed up to 1.30x so that he spoke at a normal speed.

Get Smart is the type of book one should pick-up from their local library as there isn’t a solid reason to keep this book on one’s shelves in order to re-read at a later time. Once was enough.

Elefant, Image: Fourth Estate
Elefant, Image: Fourth Estate

Elefant by Martin Suter

Sophie spends a lot of time browsing through lists of forthcoming books looking for interesting titles to review here. The vast majority are instantly forgettable, but sometimes one leaps out so forcefully that she cannot help but request it immediately. Elefant by Martin Suter was one of those titles.

In Zurich, homeless alcoholic Schoch finds a tiny glow-in-the-dark pink elephant in his cave. Naturally, he assumes this is merely a hallucination until the elephant is still there the next day. Soon Schoch finds himself mixed up in an adventure with scientists, circus folk, and vets—all of whom are either hunting down or trying to help the tiny elephant for their own reasons. Schoch finds himself inexplicably drawn to the little creature and upends his entire life in his attempts to help her.

Originally written in German, the premise of Elefant sounds utterly barmy, and in many ways, it is. How could a book whose plot centers on a tiny, glow-in-the-dark pink elephant be anything but? However, it is not a comedy and the story has an incredible amount of warmth and heart to it. Despite its short length, the book manages to flesh out all its central characters so they become more than simple stereotypes. There’s Schoch the homeless alcoholic with a past he’s worked hard to forget, Kuang the elephant whisperer who dreams of far more than his life with the circus, and Roux the scientist whose dreams are far more fiscally-centered and who will step on anyone and anything to achieve them.

Sophie found the ending of Elefant a little predictable and slushy, but sometimes stories are allowed to have happy endings. In fact, given the world we live in, sometimes it’s nice to find a book where good people do good things and everything works out for the best.

This Is a Taco, Image: Lion Forge
This Is a Taco, Image: Lion Forge

This Is a Taco! by Andrew Cangelose

Sadly, Sophie’s son is rapidly growing out of the age for picture books. It’s a shame because there are some amazing titles coming out at the moment, but luckily, she can still convince him to read the occasional one for the time being. When she spotted This Is a Taco! by Andrew Cangelose, she knew it was one they simply had to read together.

This Is a Taco! is, perhaps confusingly, a book about a squirrel. A squirrel named Taco whose favorite food also happens to be… tacos. It is a send-up of traditional children’s nature primers, introducing kids to squirrels, where and how they live, and their preferred diet. Taco has very different opinions about how his book should be progressing and the facts it should be imparting to its readers, and when we reach the pages about predators who hunt squirrels, he takes the narrative into his own paws. Literally, with a big red crayon.

This book had Sophie’s eight-year-old rolling on the floor in hysterics, and he has taken to loudly announcing, ” the taco is the natural predator of tacos!” at random moments, much to the confusion of anyone who hasn’t read the book. Sophie also found herself laughing out loud at This Is a Taco! and she very much appreciated the moral of the story—that you are in charge of your own story and can change it however you want if you choose to.

If Sophie and her son are anything to go by, parents and kids will love reading this together.

Hurts to Love You, Image: Avon
Hurts to Love You, Image: Avon

Hurts To Love You by Alisha Rai

Hurts to Love You is the third and final volume in Alisha Rai’s Forbidden Hearts series. A steamy, high heat romance, Hurts to Love You focuses on Eve, the youngest of the Chandlers, and her much older lover, Gabe. You really should read this series in order; the first book is Hate to Want You. This book wraps up plot threads that have been built throughout the series.

Like all of Rai’s work, this book brings in themes of family, identity, and self-worth. Eve is recovering from a lifetime of emotional abuse at the hands of her father. Her flashbacks and panic are carefully shown on the page. Gabe, meanwhile, is still covering up the secret of his biological father and his attraction to the youngest Chandler makes this even more complex.

As an adopted kid, K had a lot of feelings about this book and was reduced to sobbing in the last twenty percent. The romance is very steamy; sex is on page and steamy, but nothing she felt embarrassed to read on public transport. Excellent book and it comes with her highest recommendation.

GeekMom received some items for review purposes.

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