Cybils Reading Roundup, Part 2

Over the past few days, I’ve read What a Girl is Made Of (Elana K. Arnold), The Librarian of Auschwitz (Antonio Iturbe), In the Shadow of the Sun (Anne Sibley O’Brien) and City of Saints and Thieves (Natalie C. Anderson).

These books are all amazing, but they’re also all incredibly heavy.

What a Girl is Made Of is a feminist novel about a teenage girl who’s trying to figure out who she is.  Her relationships (with her boyfriend and with her mom, primarily, but really every relationship) aren’t great at all. It’s incredibly powerful, but I could’ve done without the description of what happens to dogs after they’re put down (it would’ve been awful any time, I think, but I’m still pretty raw after losing Sam a few months ago). I read that part on the light rail and basically sobbed in public. (Still, intense and great book.)

The Librarian of Auschwitz is based on a true story and features real people, but is a novel.  In Auschwitz, there was a tiny library of eight books.  Obviously, they were kept hidden and it was incredibly dangerous.  ALSO intense and ALSO great.

In the Shadow of the Sun is about a brother and sister who are on the run in North Korea after their dad was arrested by the government. This is the least intense of the books I read but it’s still really intense. (It’s about North Korea and what really goes on there, but most of the people seem very good…except the ones who aren’t really aren’t.)

City of Saints and Thieves is amazing and probably my favorite of this bunch. A girl is trying to avenge her mom’s murder and is close to taking down the man she believes is responsible—but is he?

Again, none of these books are light reading at all, but they’re all amazing.  You couldn’t go wrong with any of them.

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Weekend Update

What I’m reading: Cybils stuff! (I’m currently reading Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert and it is AMAZING!) Reading may not happen as much this weekend (my mom and her best friend are in town) and next (going to DC to see Bekki and we’re going to have the best fun and watch Stranger Things) but I have plenty of time and only 35-ish unread books for Cybils.  So yay for fun!

What I’m watching: SO MANY HORROR MOVIES. This is my absolute favorite time of year. I’m not sure that there will be a MoviePass update this weekend, because I may get to watch Geostorm or The Snowman on Sunday, but that’s it. We’ll see how it goes.

One Good Scare

We’re getting close to Halloween, which is my favorite holiday. And so, as is usually the case but especially now, all I want to watch are horror movies. 

If this is true for you, too, here are some great horror movies I’ve seen recently. 

1) Happy Death Day. This isn’t scary at all but is really fun. (College girl keeps reliving the day of her murder; maybe the only way to change her fate is to learn who’s trying to kill her and why.)

2) The Autopsy of Jane Doe. This is one of the scariest movies I’ve ever seen. (Mortician and his son try to learn what killed a girl, whose body was found at the site of a triple homicide.)

3) Annabelle: Creation. This is fun and creepy. AND it’s out on DVD on Tuesday! This is the prequel to the prequel about the cursed doll from The Conjuring. And it’s even better than the first one (low bar). 

4) Cult of Chucky. Like Happy Death Day, this is insanely fun and not at all scary. And it’s so much better than any seventh horror movie installment has any right to be. I’m very excited to see where the series goes from here. 

Cybils Roundup

Thanks to jury duty, I had plenty of time to read last week (I wasn’t put on a trial, thank goodness, but was there from 8-3:15 or so). 

I read Autoboyography by Christina Lauren (so cute and fun) and Far From the Tree by Robin Benway (just a really great book) and if you are also stuck at jury duty, I would recommend those books keep you company. 

The great thing about being a Cybils judge is that there are so many great books. The bad thing is that now blogging them is seeming like a pretty insurmountable task. 

Genuine Fraud

Finished Genuine Fraud by e. lockhart. 

This story is told in reverse; each chapter moves back in time. With the last chapter, we catch up to where the story began and then we learn everything (I think). You’ll be happier if you don’t know what it’s about going in. 

That was basically all I knew going in and that meant that all the book’s surprises were intact. (I also knew, from reading We Were Liars, that I should try and not make any assumptions about what I was told as the narrative progressed and that is a hard thing to do.)

e. lockhart continues to prove that she is masterful at YA thrillers, although I’m not sure it’s really fair to classify this as that. Although I also don’t know what else you’d call it. 

At any rate, while I try and parse out genre distinctions, you should just read this book before it DOES get spoiled for you. 

Little Monsters

Finished Little Monsters by Kara Thomas. 

Kacey, Bailey and Jade are best friends. Except now Bailey is missing and Jade and Kacey aren’t really talking…and Kacey keeps finding stuff (Bailey’s phone; a blood smear at the local haunted spot). Know who the police don’t trust? Teenage Jessica Fletcher. 

There is a lot more going on (sad backstory, local urban legend, way more) and this book is seriously amazing. It’s 322 pages, according to my Kindle, but I raced through it like it was a short story. 

Everything caught me off guard but also made perfect sense. Like, of COURSE that’s what happened. 

This book is insanely entertaining but there’s also a lot there. Recommended. 

All the Movies!

This is probably the best week of movies since I got my MoviePass. 

On Thursday, Philip and I saw Marshall (the Thurgood Marshall biopic) and it was fantastic. I didn’t know much about him (other than he was a Supreme Court justice and successfully argued Brown vs. the Board of Education AND is the name behind our airport, even though it’s usually just called BWI) and so this movie was totally unfamiliar to me. The cast is amazing (especially Chadwick Boseman, who played Thurgood Marshall, and Sterling K. Brown, who played the defendant) and it’s just a great movie. 

On Saturday, Philip and I saw Blade Runner 2049. I still haven’t seen the original but was able to follow this one with no problem. I’m not sure how much I really liked it, per se, but it’s a great movie and I respect what the filmmaker was doing. I definitely want to watch it again. 

Sunday, I saw Happy Death Day. It looked totally ridiculous in the trailers but is actually incredibly fun. My cousin said it’s the best horror film he’s seen in theaters this year, and I have to agree. 

Optimists Die First

Finished Optimists Die First by Susin Nielsen.

Summary (from Goodreads):

Life ahead: Proceed with caution.

Sixteen-year-old Petula De Wilde is anything but wild. A family tragedy has made her shut herself off from the world. Once a crafting fiend with a happy life, Petula now sees danger in everything, from airplanes to ground beef.

The worst part of her week is her comically lame mandatory art therapy class. She has nothing in common with this small band of teenage misfits, except that they all carry their own burden of guilt.

When Jacob joins their ranks, he seems so normal and confident. Petula wants nothing to do with him, or his prosthetic arm. But when they’re forced to collaborate on a unique school project, she slowly opens up, and he inspires her to face her fears.

Until a hidden truth threatens to derail everything.”

I really enjoyed this story–it’s very short and is also very serious.  Yes, there are a ton of funny parts, but it also deals with a group of kids who all are dealing with things that they shouldn’t have to face until they’re older.  In a lot of ways, this book absolutely broke my heart.  (Although again, it’s also really funny.)

Even though this is really short, it never felt rushed…but I wish I had gotten to spend more time with these characters.

This is an excellent book, especially when you consider that it’s a debut novel.  Recommended.

Weekend Update

What I’m reading: Lots of Cybils books! Basically every review you see for the rest of the year will be a Cybils book probably. 

What I’m watching: EVERYTHING BUT TV. I’m behind on every show except This is Us and The Mindy Project, but I hope to catch up soon. Movie-wise, though, I’m golden. Still taking advantage of MoviePass and also trying to watch a bunch of horror movies (tis the season!).