Tuesday, 25 July 2017

[article] Oh, The Things I Do For Book Blogging



A beautiful looking book I just haven't gotten around to reading yet



Oh, The Things I Do For Book Blogging




Or, How Six Months of Book Blogging Has Made My Life More Interesting




Today marks the sixth-month anniversary of Atlas Rising Books. I've written over a hundred book reviews,  read and reviewed 57 books for Netgalley, and generally had a super-fun time. In celebration I thought I would share a few of the little odd, weird, and wonderful things that I, and other book bloggers, do as part of the blogging experience. 

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, Gail Honeyman


I simply didn't know how to make things better. I couldn't solve the puzzle of me. 


Meet Eleanor Oliphant: she struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. That, combined with her unusual appearance (scarred cheek, tendency to wear the same clothes year in, year out), means that Eleanor has become a creature of habit (to say the least) and a bit of a loner. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding social interactions, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy.


But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen on the sidewalk, the three become the kind of friends who rescue each other from the lives of isolation they have each been living. And it is Raymond’s big heart that will ultimately help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one.

* * * *
4 / 5 

I found this book quite hard to read. Definitely a change of tone and genre from the kind of book that I normally peruse, Eleanor Oliphant's synopsis intrigued me. A young woman with poor social skills, a quiet life of small routines that is changed when she and Raymond, an awkward man from work, help an elderly man who had fallen on the pavement. It's a touching, thoughtful, and overall lovely work from a debut author. 

Friday, 21 July 2017

Mountain, Ursula Pflug


"What are you," I finally asked, "a punk or a monk?"
Seventeen-year-old Camden splits her time between her father, a minor rock star, and her mom, a scruffy "hardware geek" who designs and implements temporary and sustainable power systems and satellite linkups for off-grid music and art festivals, tree-sits, and attends gatherings of alternative healers. Lark, Camden's father, provides her with brand-name jeans, running shoes, and makeup, while her mother's world is populated by anarchists, freaks, geeks, and hippies. 
Naturally, Camden prefers staying with her dad and going to the mall with his credit card and her best friend, but one summer, when Lark is recording a new album, Camden accompanies her mother, Laureen, to a healing camp on a mountain in Northern California. After their arrival, Laureen heads to San Francisco, ostensibly to go find her lover.

* * 
2 / 5

Mountain was a bit of an odd book. Or, more accurately, a novella clocking in at about 140 pages. It's about a seventeen year old girl who goes to a "healing camp", a sort of festival / commune, with her wayward mother. One day Camden's mother goes down to town in the truck and never comes back, leaving Camden alone at the camp.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Girl Off The Gird, Jillian Dodd


Life is made up of moments. Moments that define you, change you, and test you.

NYC fashion blogger, Camille Caldwell, gets offered a dream job by her favorite magazine. They’re going to send her on an all-expenses paid eco-trip to Costa Rica. She doesn’t know what that means, but she assumes she’ll wear fabulous clothes, sip PiƱa Coladas on the beach, and have her photo taken “out in nature.” Really, the hardest part of the assignment will be giving up social media while she’s gone.

Going off social media is no big deal for London-based wildlife photographer, Adam Lloyd. The only reason he even has an account is to share his photos with the world. He’s thrilled when an international publication wants to hire him, until he finds out it’s a fashion magazine. He decides to take the job anyway—after all, it will be great for his portfolio. But the minute he sees Camille, he knows it was a mistake. She has too much luggage, is too high maintenance, and way too pretty.

* * 
2 / 5 

I'm a blogger, so occasionally I read books about bloggers. With a character like Camille Caldwell, rich girl, fashion vlogger, and "anti-nature" person, I knew a book like Girl Off The Grid could either be well-researched, nuanced, and interesting, or it could be fluffy, cute with the world's most predictable romance, and Camille could be annoying as hell. I hoped for the former but got the latter; if that's your kind of book, then go you, but it wasn't mine.

Monday, 17 July 2017

Scythe, Neal Shusterman


"My greatest wish for humanity is not for peace or comfort or joy. It is that we all still die a little inside every time we witness the death of another" 
A world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery. Humanity has conquered all those things, and has even conquered death. Now scythes are the only ones who can end life—and they are commanded to do so, in order to keep the size of the population under control.


Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe—a role that neither wants. These teens must master the “art” of taking life, knowing that the consequence of failure could mean losing their own.

* * *
3 / 5 

I've been wanting to read Scythe for a while for several reasons: (a) I enjoyed Shusterman's book Unwind, (b) I love the cover of Scythe, (c) the premise sounded really, really awesome. And the start of Scythe was really, really good. In a world that has surpassed mortality, where one can turn back the biological clock and become physically twenty again, where the only people who can truly kill or "glean" are the scythes, Citra and Rowan are taken on as apprentices.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Fallen Flame, J. Miller


I lowered the one in my hands and tossed it onto another, watching my flame catch and spread over the ground, like a wave of fire, lighting it all
Nineteen years ago, on the island kingdom of Garlin, a girl was born. With charred skin as rough as rock, Vala was instantly feared. For how could one be scorched by magic when it had perished ages before? 

Recognizing an asset, the royal family welcomed her on their Guard. Her detail: the prince. To watch. To protect. She has grown with him, lives her life for him. When the high kingdom’s princess comes to assess the prince, assassins of rival courtiers come to claim his life. One nearly succeeds in his mission. But with shadowy movements and charred skin like her own, Vala knows he is not like the rest.

* * * *
4 / 5

Nineteen years ago, many years after a veil of fog went up across the ocean and magic vanished from the human lands, a girl with charred skin was born. A girl who looked like she'd been rolled in the dying embers of a fire. Vala is the Captain of the Prince's Guard, and when assassin's and courtiers land on Garlin Island, the action and intrigue in Fallen Flame really shine.

Thursday, 13 July 2017

[article] How To Rate Books?


A rainbow of excellent (and not so excellent) books



How To Rate Books?



Or, Uh I Dunno It Was Kinda Good So 3 Stars I Guess




You might notice that this article is a question rather than a statement. That's because I don't really know, exactly, how to rate books and in my almost six months of book blogging, I think I've uncovered a little secret: no one does. You, like me, might have been fooled by those reviewers that put on their  blogs or Goodreads profiles those little "ratings guides" that look a little like this:

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

When Dimple Met Rishi, Sandhya Menon

She nodded and smiled. "Works for me." And Rishi, gods help him, thought, I could look at that smile every day and never get tired of it 

Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right? 



Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself. 

* * * 
3 / 5 

When Dimple Met Rishi is a romance, pure and simple. Dimple and Rishi are both going to a summer program for aspiring coders and app developers, but for different reasons. Dimple wants to code, to build towards her future career. Rishi wants to go and meet his future wife, Dimple; their parents have been arranging their courtship for years. This book is funny and sweet and excellently diverse, but it also has pacing issues and I found the romance stifling at points. 

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Flame In The Mist, Renee Ahdieh


Perhaps the forest simply knew this was where someone like Mariko - a lost girl in search of a place to call home - could plant roots and flourish
At just seventeen years old, Mariko is sent to the imperial palace to meet her betrothed, a man she did not choose, for the very first time. But the journey is cut short when Mariko’s convoy is viciously attacked by the Black Clan, a dangerous group of bandits who’ve been hired to kill Mariko before she reaches the palace.

The lone survivor, Mariko narrowly escapes to the woods, where she plots her revenge. Dressed as a peasant boy, she sets out to infiltrate the Black Clan and hunt down those responsible for the target on her back. Once she’s within their ranks, though, Mariko finds for the first time she’s appreciated for her intellect and abilities. 

* * * 
3 / 5

Flame In The Mist is the latest book by the author of The Wrath and The Dawn, which I really enjoyed and do recommend. This book is very loosely a Mulan retelling in which Mariko, daughter of a noble house, is attacked by bandits on her way to marry the second in line to the emperor's throne. Lost in a creepy forest, Mariko cannot return home in shame and so endeavours to infiltrate the Black Clan, who she believes is responsible for her attempted murder. 

Friday, 7 July 2017

The Hundredth Queen, Emily King


Anything can be changed by those who have the courage to blaze their own path
As an orphan ward of the Sisterhood, eighteen-year-old Kalinda is destined for nothing more than a life of seclusion and prayer. Plagued by fevers, she’s an unlikely candidate for even a servant’s position, let alone a courtesan or wife. Her sole dream is to continue living in peace in the Sisterhood’s mountain temple.

But a visit from the tyrant Rajah Tarek disrupts Kalinda’s life. Within hours, she is ripped from the comfort of her home, set on a desert trek, and ordered to fight for her place among the rajah’s ninety-nine wives and numerous courtesans. Her only solace comes in the company of her guard, the stoic but kind Captain Deven Naik.

* * * .5
3.5 / 5

The Hundredth Queen had a strong opening: Kalinda is at mountain temple that raises young girls; in exchange for funding, any nobleman may visit the Sisterhood temple and choose a young woman to be a servant, courtesan, or wife. When Rajah Tarek arrives at the temple to choose his hundredth wife, Kalinda is shocked to be chosen; she had been hoping to be passed on by, free to devote her life to the Sisterhood and the gods. 

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

The Orchid Caper, Connie Dowell


Midterms were a terrible time to begin planning a heist, but honestly, would there ever be a good one?
A down-on-her luck burglar, a trust fund college kid with something to prove. Will they outfox a master thief?


All eighteen-year-old Darlene wants is to rob the joint. College guy Ian comes home too soon. And some ill-timed flatulence brings them together. Darlene thinks she’s toast. Instead Ian gives her a job offer, leading a heist team to steal a rare species of vanilla orchid. Only catch, she’s swiping from one of the best thieves in the biz.

* * 
2 / 5

My biggest problem with The Orchid Caper was that it was marketed as a YA novel when it would have done much better as a children's novel, I think, due to the rather simplistic plot. It's a YA group heist novel focused around Ian, who's trying to get a one-up on his brother by stealing something of value to him, who recruits Darlene after she unsuccessfully tries to burgle his house. 

Monday, 3 July 2017

Trial By Fire, Lore Graham


Nothing captures the human imagination more than apocalypse, the end of times 
All Elena wants to do in join the Hollywood Heroes, meet her compatriots, and slowly get into the swing of saving the world. What she gets instead is Consequence, who took out a full-page ad in the LA Times threatening to bring about an apocalypse.


Between villainous masterminds, her fellow heroes, and her attraction to group leader Lacy, Elena is going to have to learn fast how to be a Hollywood Hero or the only thing she'll have to worry about is how to survive a post-apocalyptic world. 


1 / 5

I hadn't realised that this was a novella when I downloaded it, otherwise I would have given Trial By Fire a miss. So part of my dislike of this book was it's not you, it's me. Everything felt rushed: the explanations, the romance, the character building, the antagonist. I didn't feel like most of it made much sense and the book had a confused tone: the writing and plot were suitable for a children's novel, but there were two very explicit sex scenes.

Saturday, 1 July 2017

[article] June Round-Up


Normally I take a photo of all the books I read this month, but 
unfortunately I had to return a lot to the library, so here's a pretty
picture instead



June Round Up



June has been a good month for me: I've been home, done lots of reading, and had the details of my summer internship confirmed, which I'm very much excited about. After a month off of university I'm ready to get some daily structure back into my life!