It’s time for our May monthly recap – a few days late since I was away at Book Expo for the last several days. Find out which books were favorites and which were duds for the month of May. We’ll end our wrap up with a glimpse of what’s coming out in June. Read more
It’s not often that a book leaves me with such conflicting feelings. This debut by Boston author Nafkote Tamirat is a coming of age story set in Boston and an unnamed tropical island. It’s the sort of book that left me with many questions and a mix of reactions. Here’s my review… Read more
The Burning Chambers by Kate Mosse
Published in: 2018
Reviewed by: Book Worm
Find it here: The Burning Chambers
This ARC was provided by Pan Macmillan (via NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis from Goodreads: Bringing sixteenth-century Languedoc vividly to life, Kate Mosse’s The Burning Chambers is a gripping story of love and betrayal, mysteries and secrets; of war and adventure, conspiracies and divided loyalties . . . Read more
I’ve been a bit crazed with work and haven’t been posting as much. That will all change in a few weeks when I should be back to my regular reading schedule. Be on the lookout for a burst of literary fiction reviews and a recap of our March Madness challenge that wraps up on May 15.
In the meantime, it’s publication day for this next book, reviewed by Book Worm. Are you looking for a YA epic fantasy read? This might be the book for you. Read more
Things Bright and Beautiful by Anbara Salam
Published in: 2018
Reviewed by: Book Worm
Find it here: Things Bright and Beautiful
This ARC was provided by Penguin Books UK (via NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis from Goodreads: Mission House was not built for three people. Especially when one of them won’t stop humming.
1954, the South Pacific islands. When Beatriz Hanlon agreed to accompany her missionary husband Max to a remote island, she knew there would be challenges. But it isn’t just the heat and the damp and the dirt. There are more insects than she could ever have imagined, and the islanders are strangely hostile. And then there are the awful noises coming from the church at night.
Yet as the months go by, Bea slowly grows accustomed to life on the island. That is until an unexpected and interminably humming guest arrives, and the couple’s claustrophobic existence is stretched to breaking point.
Events draw to a terrible climax, and Bea watches helplessly as her husband’s guilt drives him into madness. It’s not long before Bea finds herself fighting for her freedom and her life.
Book Worm’s Thoughts: The first thing I have to say about this book is that I love the cover. It is colourful, vibrant, and has that hint of danger which really reflects the story.
Like Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, the message of the book is that white foreigners really should leave the tropics to those who were born there and who understand the land. The tropics are often fatal to foreigners and there are no shortage of potential killers. In this novel the deadliness comes from the change in diet to a very basic rice and greens diet, the insect and animal population, diseases, the weather, and even the land itself.
Missionaries Bea and Max journey to the South Pacific Islands expecting to save the souls of the natives. Instead, they find themselves fighting to save themselves. While on the surface the islanders appear to have accepted Christianity, traditions and superstitions remain strong influences for them.
This novel explores how Max and Bea learn to cope with island life and their changing relationship when they are put in a situation which allows no room for escape, and little contact with the world they left behind.
Who would enjoy this? I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys books that focus on characters rather than on intense action. This book does have action, but the most interesting pieces are those that center on the people and their changing relationships.
We want to hear from you! Have you read this book? What did you think? Does it appeal to you? Why or why not?
Book Worm has been reading through the Hogwarth Shakespeare retelling series. Next up for her is a modern-day retelling of Macbeth by master of suspense/thrillers, Jo Nesbo. The book comes out today in the US. Check out her review and let us know what you think. Read more
I’ve got admit that I’ve been in somewhat of a reading slump which is why we’ve had fewer posts over the last month. I’m not sure if the reading slump has to do with not finding much appealing or due to a crazy work schedule. I’ve spent the last week listening (I had previously read it) to the audiobook for Ready Player One (because Wheaton’s narration is awesome) and getting irritated by how much it differs from the movie (the book is better). Book Worm, however has been plowing ahead with her reading and is bringing you her latest review of a book that sounds right up my alley. Check out her review. Read more
Only two more days to complete your brackets for the challenge! If you do not complete your bracket before Thursday March 15 in the morning, you will be locked out of the challenge. See instructions in earlier posts and on our challenge page.
UPDATE: You may now begin reading as soon as you have completed and submitted your bracket. Once I see your submission on the CBS site, you may start reading. So if you finish your bracket early, you’ll get a leg up on the competition. Granted we won’t know the final 4 #16 spots until end of day tomorrow.
Good luck everyone! And send me a message if you need any help getting started.
Our Bookish March Madness Challenge is a reading challenge where we pair books with basketball teams then participants can earn points for both predictions and reading books that correspond with their winning predictions. You can read full instructions and join here.
Teams were announced today and so now you can see which books go with each team. The fate of the book is determined by how well their basketball team does in the NCAA tournament.
You can now access the brackets. Here is the link to the CBS pool where you will submit your own bracket. Here’s what you need to do…
Step 1: Join our CBS pool. to join our league. You need to do this to participate because part of your score will be tracked here.
Step 2: Look at the brackets. I’ve created an excel sheet you can view that has 3 sheets. Sheet 1 has the book bracket, sheet 2 is the basketball bracket. The two sheets are identical in terms of their layout. So the book in the top left corner is partnered with the basketball team in the top left corner. You could potentially print them out and lay one on top of the other in order to see how they are matched. Sheet 3 has the books and partnered teams linked. The Brackets are here.
Step 3: Fill out your bracket. When you submit your bracket to the CBS group you will need to do so using only basketball teams (the books won’t be on the CBS website). We recommend that you print out one basketball bracket and then write in the books next to each team name. Then fill it out with both partners in each position. Then you can go to CBS site and fill out your bracket online with your cheatsheet in front of you.
Step 4: Submit your bracket to CBS site before March 15. Brackets will lock as soon as games start so if you forget to submit it, you will be locked out of the challenge.
Step 5: Read. From March 15 – May 15, you will be reading the books you selected in your bracket. You can only get points for reading books that you have picked to advance at least one game. See challenge page for full instructions.
Step 6: Score your reading. Your score will be determined by prediction score (tracked by CBS automatically) + your reading score (tracked by you). You can find a link to the score card on our challenge page.
Any questions? It can be confusing so make sure you ask lots of questions!
If you have never filled out a bracket: The way the brackets work is that all schedules and games are already determined. You work your way from the outside in to the center of the sheet predicting the outcome of each game until you end up with one winner.
So if you look at the bracket, the top left corner has The Hate you Give (Virginia) vs. My Not So Perfect Life (UMB) linked together. This means that they will be playing each other in round 1. You need to select the winner of that game and you’ll write that in on the line closer to the center for round 2. Then move down to the next pair in round one. In our bracket it would be American War (Creighton) vs. Warcross (Kansas St). Pick who you think would win that game and write that winner in on the line on round two. Proceed down the left side until you’ve completed all the predictions. Then go to the outer right side and do the same thing.
Once you’ve gone through all of the first round you will move to the next games underneath “second round.” So in our example above, I picked Virginia to beat UMBC and Creighton to beat Kansas State. So I should have in my bracket for round two: Virginia (THUG) vs. Creighton (American War). I then pick the team I think will win that game and move down the right side then left side until I have match ups listed for round three.
Keep going until you have only one winner left.
It’s time to join our challenge! Books have been nominated, rated, and ranked and our book bracket is complete. Now we are just waiting on the basketball teams which will be announced on selection Sunday, March 11, 2018. Books on the book bracket will be paired with basketball teams of the same rank. Keep reading to learn more about what you need to to do participate. Read more