February 2, 2016

Cover Discover: Atmospheric

Cover Discover is all about judging book covers within a particular theme.  We'd never judge the story inside by the cover outside, but it's fun sometimes to judge the cover on its own!

First, here are the results from last week's Cover Discover: Cars

Your Favorite:
(This was my fave,too!)

Second Place:

Which book did you pick last week?  Why did it appeal to you?


Here are today's choices:


January 30, 2016


Reading Slumps.

The bane of a book lover's existence.

We all have them.  We all hate them.  We all feel like they will never freaking end. (omg please just let it end!)

I mean, at first, you take it with ease. You are totally chill about it.  It's just today, right?  Or maybe just this week?  

But then another week goes by. And another.  And another.

Pretty soon you are losing your mind because you can't pay attention to any words, no matter how hard you try.

And you've been trying.  Hard.  You've tried various books.  You've tried various genres.  You've tried taking a few days off from reading hoping that the spark comes back.  And what do you get for all your troubles?


You don't know whether you want to cry or yell and scream.  It's a toss up, really.

I mean, how can books just BETRAY you like this?  After you've loved them, petted them, and cared for them like children?  It's cruel, really.

But....then someone (very smart) reminds you:  It IS just temporary.  It won't last forever. 

Eventually you find a book that speaks to you.

That absorbs you. 

That rekindles that old familiar amazeballs feeling that you get when you fall in love with reading all over again.

Your soul sings and your heart soars and you feel so amazing that you are certain without a doubt you could solve world hunger and create world peace.

Oh yeah, you've got this. HANDLED.

Ah, it feels good to be back in the zone, doesn't it?

January 29, 2016

#TTWIB Readalong Announcement - And the Mountains Echoed!

Next month I am hosting a readalong for Khaled Hosseini's book And the Mountains Echoed. I have been wanting to read this since before it published so I am very, very excited.  Hosseini is a beautiful writer who captures the image and feelings and humanity of Afghanistan like no other writer I have encountered.

If you Twitter, we will be having two Twitter chats during the Readalong:

WEDNESDAY February 10th @ 9pm EST

and SUNDAY February 28th @ 3pm EST

We will be using the hashtag #TTWIB so everyone can see the discussion. You can also use this hashtag or #TraveltheWorldinBooks hashtag to update and talk about the book the whole month (just remember no big spoilers!)

We will also be posting discussion questions on our Goodreads group page.

If you are interested in participating, sign up either on our Goodreads TTWIB page or link up below!

January 21, 2016

Review: Under the Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta

BOOK #: 2
GENRE: Historical Fiction
PUBLISHER: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
ACQUIRED: Edelweiss
SETTING: Nigeria

"On January 7, 2014, Nigeria's president, Goodluck Jonathan, signed into law a bill criminalizing same-sex relationships and the support of such relationships, making these offenses punishable by up to fourteen years in prison. In the northern states, the punishment is death by stoning. This novel attempts to give Nigeria's marginalized LGBTQ citizens a more powerful voice, and a place in our nation's history."

I think Under the Udala Trees is a success at this goal.

Ijeoma comes of age during Nigeria's Civil War.  She struggles with the Christian religion her mother is teaching her and the truth she knows inside of her - that she is attracted to girls.  After being sent away to school following the death of her father, she meets and falls in love with another displaced girl.  When they are discovered, her mother returns to put an end to that however she can.

In a conservative, war-torn country, rife with prejudice, Ijeoma struggles with living a lie.  Who is she if she is not her authentic self?  The message Okparanta tells through this story is not just of Ijeoma, but of Nigeria's struggle, as well.  She gives voice to the voiceless and connection to the disconnected.

I love that Okparanta included the native language, which is peppered throughout the story. It brings a real sense of setting, as well as a sense of culture.

My only issue with this book was the pacing was snail-like throughout most of the book.  The story being told, however, was so gripping that even problems with pace couldn't stop me from reading the book.  That, for me, is HUGE.  So you know how good the message of the LGBTQ in Nigeria was for me to cast that issue aside.

I would love for you to pick up this book and tell me what you think. 

January 20, 2016

Paradise Drive by Rebecca Foust - Poetic Book Tours

Today I am happy to participate in Serena's new Poetic Book Tours tour of award-winner Rebecca Foust's Paradise Drive. Paradise Drive is all about a modern pilgrim on a journey.  In the following video, Rebecca shares a sonnet from the book entitled "The Fire is Falling", which also ran in the Southern Indiana Review. After the video be sure to check out Rebecca's bio, and the links to purchase the book.  I'd love for you to leave a comment with what you think of the poem on the video.  Thanks!

 Visit Poetic Book Tours for the rest of the tour schedule.

About the Book:

Paradise Drive links 80 sonnets in a narrative about a modern Pilgrim on a journey from rust belt Pennsylvania to the glittering suburbs of Marin County, California. The book takes great pleasure in questioning, tinkering with, and ultimately exploding the sonnet form. It has been well received, with more than 50 reviews and features since its release last April. Rumpus and the Washington Review of Books included it in their National Poetry Month picks, and the San Francisco Chronicle recently published this review.

Add to GoodReads:
Paradise Drive

Available on Amazon.

About the Poet:
Rebecca Foust was the 2014 Dartmouth Poet in Residence and is the recipient of fellowships from The Frost Place, the MacDowell Colony, and the Sewanee Writer’s Conference Her fifth book, Paradise Drive, won the 2015 Press 53 Award for Poetry. Her other books include All That Gorgeous Pitiless Song (Many Mountains Moving Prize), God, Seed (Foreword Book of the Year Award) and two chapbooks that won the Robert Phillips Chapbook Prizes in 2008 and 2009. Foust’s poems appear widely in journals including American Academy of Poets Poem-A-Day series, Hudson Review, Massachusetts Review, Poetry Daily, Sewanee Review, and Verse Daily. A first generation college graduate, Foust attended Smith College (BA 1979), Stanford Law School (1979), and Warren Wilson College (MFA 2010). She lives in Northern California and works as Poetry Editor for Women’s Voices for Change and assistant editor for Narrative Magazine. She also won the 2015 American Literary Review Creative Writing Award for Fiction judged by Garth Greenwell and the 2015 James Heart Poetry Prize judged by Jane Hirshfield.