About


My name is Ardis and I am an avid reader and budding writer. I want to share my love of books with others. I work with kids and am interested in finding and creating books that will ignite the reader in everyone. Contact me at: ardis.atkins@gmail.com

Follow Me

Follow

Followers

Powered by Blogger.

Blog Archive

MsArdychan's bookshelf: read

I Owe You One
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
Love, Hate & Other Filters
The Wartime Sisters
The Belles
The Gilded Wolves
Hey, Kiddo
Blackberry and Wild Rose
Queen of Air and Darkness
Firestarter
The Retribution of Mara Dyer
The Evolution of Mara Dyer


MsArdychan's favorite books »

Total Views

Monday, April 30, 2018

ARC Review: Song of Blood and Stone by L. Penelope

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36347830-song-of-blood-stone?ac=1&from_search=true
Please Note:  I received an advance copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  This did not influence the opinions of my review in any way.

Synopsis (From Goodreads):
Orphaned and alone, Jasminda lives in a land where cold whispers of invasion and war linger on the wind. Jasminda herself is an outcast in her homeland of Elsira, where her gift of Earthsong is feared. When ruthless soldiers seek refuge in her isolated cabin, they bring with them a captive--an injured spy who threatens to steal her heart.

Jack's mission behind enemy lines to prove that the Mantle between Elsira and Lagamiri is about to fall nearly cost him his life, but he is saved by the healing Song of a mysterious young woman. Now he must do whatever it takes to save Elsira and it's people from the True Father and he needs Jasminda's Earthsong to do it. They escape their ruthless captors and together they embark on a perilous journey to save Elsira and to uncover the secrets of The Queen Who Sleeps.

Thrust into a hostile society, Jasminda and Jack must rely on one another even as secrets jeopardize their bond. As an ancient evil gains power, Jasminda races to unlock a mystery that promises salvation.

The fates of two nations hang in the balance as Jasminda and Jack must choose between love and duty to fulfill their destinies and end the war.


Review:
One of the things I enjoy most about the Fantasy genre is it's ability to weave current social topics into a story.  Song of Blood and Stone, by L. Penelope, does this to stunning effect.  On top of building a wonderful new universe with magic and "Earthsong", the story explores themes of prejudice, and the challenges of refugees. 

What I Liked:
World-building:
The character's world is essentially divided in two by a barrier known as "The Mantle".  One side has an abundance of technology and the other side is made up of people with "Earthsong" (the ability to control the elements with magic).  There are often breaches in The Mantle when people from Lagamiri raid the Elsirians, causing lingering ill-will and prejudices.

I appreciated the way the author showed how magic both benefited, and harmed both sides.  Technology was also a double-edged sword, helping to improve lives, but also taking a toll on the environment.

There was also a wonderful backstory about the origins of the conflict, pitting two siblings against each other.

Characters:
Jasminda is strong, smart, and resilient. Even though she has lost nearly everything, and everyone she loves, she still keeps going.  Dark-skinned Jasminda is the product of a union between her Lagamirian father, and her Elsirian mother.  Although she was born in Elsira, she looks like someone from Lagamira, and thus is discriminated against on a daily basis.  People in Elsira mistrust her use of Earthsong, so she must keep her talents hidden.  So much of the subtle (and not so subtle) discrimination Jasminda is subjected to mirrors the experiences of African-Americans in the United States!

Story:
I found the story to be a page-turner!  There was lots of danger, romance, and mystery to keep me reading.  The tension at various parts of the book was palatable.  I was very moved by the story of the refugees and what they endured.  The characters who did stand up for their beliefs went through many trials, and you could see the parallels between them and civil rights advocates throughout history.

What I Was Mixed About:
Characters:
Although I thought Jack was brave and down to earth, I also thought he was rather selfish and didn't treat Jasminda as well as he should have.  He obviously sees Jasminda for the amazing woman that she is, but he doesn't call out others when they say and do blatantly racist things.  He also expects Jasminda to be understanding when he wants to keep their relationship a secret.  Basically, he wants all the perks and none of the challenges of being with her. I know this would have been really hard for him, but dude!  Grow a backbone!

Sex On The Page:
The bedroom scenes in this book are very sexy.  If you are looking for a "clean" romance, you won't enjoy this book.  Because this is a book where the relationship between Jasminda and Jack evolved (they didn't just jump into bed at first sight), I was okay with these moments.  They weren't the entire focus of the book.  But normally, this is NOT my thing.
  
Rating: 




Release Date:  May 1st, 2018

Genre:  Fantasy/Romance

Author:  L. Penelope

Publisher:  St. Martin's Press

Page Length:  384 Pages

Format:  E-Book

Source:  NetGalley

Recommendation:  This is a very entertaining, fast-paced story with great world-building.  But with steamy romance scenes, this is a fantasy book clearly for adults!
SHARE ON: Share to Pinterest



Saturday, April 28, 2018

Stacking The Shelves #122 and Sunday Post #86






I am combining two great blog hops:  Stacking The Shelves (a Saturday feature by Team Tynga's Reviews), and Sunday Post (a Sunday feature by the Caffeinated Book Reviewer).  Both of these features give people a chance to post about what books they received and also an opportunity to catch a glimpse of what others are excited about.  I really enjoy seeing everyone's version of these features!   All book covers are linked to Goodreads, if you want to check them out.  If you enjoy my blog, please consider following me via Bloglovin, Networked Blogs, GFC, or by email subscription.  If you leave a comment and tell me you are a new follower, I will follow you back! 

On The Blog:

Monday:  Audio ARC Review:  Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian

Tuesday: ARC Review:  Burning Brightly by Alexa Donne

In "Real Life":
It was a crazy busy week for me, going to two book events.  On Monday, I went to Book Passage to see my very favorite author, Luis Alberto Urrea!  I have read nearly all his books, as I really identify with his observations on life in a Mexican-American family.  He is a very absorbing speaker, and had the audience in the palm of his hand.

Then on Wednesday, I went to A Great Good Place for Books in Oakland to see three wonderful authors:  Nina La Cour, Jandy Nelson, and Gayle Forman.  This was probably one of the most entertaining events I have ever been to!  Gayle talked about her book, and then passed out scripts and had audience members act out a scene!  Then, she had everyone sing along to the song that is pivotal in the book.  A good time was had by all (could it have also been the wine that made everyone so congenial?). 

 I also started subscribing to Page Habit, a Book Box of the month club.  I really like the choices for April:  Dread Nation, by Justina Ireland, and The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo.

I pretty much busted my book budget for the next few months!  But I have zero guilt, as I really need to be distracted right now.

New Books:
Library:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35464020-the-night-diary


Bought:


https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35604591-the-house-of-broken-angels?ac=1&from_search=truehttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36470842-i-have-lost-my-way?ac=1&from_search=true


https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31180248-leah-on-the-offbeat?ac=1&from_search=truehttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35958491-daughters-of-the-air?ac=1&from_search=truehttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33155325-the-57-bus?from_search=true

PageHabit Box:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30223025-dread-nation?ac=1&from_search=truehttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33294200-the-poet-x?ac=1&from_search=true
I have never done one of these boxes before and was pleasantly surprised by the amount of goodies in this box!  If you want to check it out, please go to PageHabit.  If you subscribe, I will get a referral and $10 off my next box.


For Review:
 Edelweiss:


https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33002445-the-map-of-salt-and-stars?ac=1&from_search=true



NetGalley:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29456569-lifel1k3?from_search=true

That's it for this week.  I hope you had a lovely week, and have some great plans for the weekend.  As for me, I will be attending the Bay Area Book Festival in Berkeley! 
SHARE ON: Share to Pinterest
Tuesday, April 24, 2018

ARC Review: Brightly Burning by Alexa Donne

Please Note:  I received an advance copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.  This did not influence the opinions of my review in any way.

Synopsis (From Goodreads):
Seventeen-year-old Stella Ainsley wants just one thing: to go somewhere—anywhere—else. Her home is a floundering spaceship that offers few prospects, having been orbiting an ice-encased Earth for two hundred years. When a private ship hires her as a governess, Stella jumps at the chance. The captain of the Rochester, nineteen-year-old Hugo Fairfax, is notorious throughout the fleet for being a moody recluse and a drunk. But with Stella he’s kind.

But the Rochester harbors secrets: Stella is certain someone is trying to kill Hugo, and the more she discovers, the more questions she has about his role in a conspiracy threatening the fleet.


Review: 
I first read Jane Eyre when I was a teenager.   I loved Charlotte Bronte's story of a plain girl from a humble background falling in love with the brooding Mr. Rochester.  Two people, misunderstood, who find each other.  In Brightly Burning, author Alexa Donne updates the story and sets it in SPACE!!!  I was delighted that this story closely followed the original, while treating  the reader to a modern, romantic story.

What I Liked:
Setting:
Earth has gone through a disaster that has plummeted it into a new Ice Age.  A small portion of humanity has escaped on spaceships that have orbited the Earth for over two-hundred years.  If the plot seems familiar, I agree...

                                     
via GIPHY

But, this book delves into the nitty-gritty details of what might happen to society if we were all fighting for survival in space.  How would people be valued when resources are limited?  Would there be a class system?  How would pandemic illnesses be dealt with?  The author explores these questions and more.

Characters:
Stella, the main character, is girl who is used to living with hardships.  Orphaned at an early age, and spurned by her heartless aunt, Stella is not a complainer.  Yet, she wants a better life for herself than what she has.   The spaceship Stalwart is rumored to be close to failing, doomed to fall back to Earth, killing all of it's passengers.  So Stella applies for a job as a governess aboard a private ship.  I loved that Stella could be resilient, opinionated, and strong, but not full of herself.  She is pretty, but not in a traditional way.  And she doesn't seem to get social interactions as easily as others do.  So while she seems to be confident, she actually wrestles with self-doubt. 

Hugo, the young captain of the Rochester, drinks excessively which leads his moods to go from fun and flirty, to sullen and arrogant in an instant.  While this confuses, and infuriates Stella, she also sees that he is a kind brother, and a person she can find common interests with.  They both love reading, and can spend hours together discussing books.  She sees his faults and still likes him.  

There are many characters that are in both Jane Eyre and Brightly Burning, but one that I like even more in this new version is Bianca.  This version shows is less a caricature of a spoiled brat and more of a complicated person.  Bianca's family has put all their hopes in her finding a rich husband, and they have set their sites on Hugo.  But I liked that she was well aware, and angry, about being sold off to keep her family's privileged standing.

Story:  
I like how the story recreates many of the same moments from the original Jane Eyre.  There is the tragic background story of Stella (Jane), Stella's acceptance as a governess at the beautiful, but remote, Rochester spaceship (manor house),  and the arrogant, but handsome captain of the spaceship, Hugo (although now the main character is a teenager).  There is even the house party from the original story.  And who is that laughing outside Stella's door in the middle of the night?  It all fits together smoothly.  You really do not need to be familiar with Jane Eyre to enjoy this novel.  But if you love the source material, picking up on the many details taken from the classic book will be a treat.

What I Was Mixed About:
The Ending:
While I did enjoy the ending and how it was similar to how Jane Eyre finished, I thought the author rushed through the details.  One of the things I liked about the story in Brightly Burning, was how all of the aspects of living in space would work.  But, at the end, when there is an abrupt change, it is not given the same realistic approach as the rest of the book (yes, I am being vague here because I don't want to give anything away).  I had many questions about how this plot twist would have actually played out, but it seemed like there was no time for the author to address them in the rush to finish the book.

Rating: 




Release Date:  May 1st, 2018


Publisher:  HMH Books for Young Readers


Genre:  YA Science Fiction / Romace


Page Length: 400 pages


Source:  NetGalley


Format:  PDF


Recommendation:  Space and Gothic romance!  An enjoyable update on a classic novel. 
SHARE ON: Share to Pinterest
Monday, April 23, 2018

Audio ARC Review: Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32505753-ash-princess
Please Note:  I received an advance audio copy of this book from Listening Library in exchange for an honest review.  This did not influence the opinions of my review in any way.

Synopsis (From Goodreads):
Theodosia was six when her country was invaded and her mother, the Fire Queen, was murdered before her eyes. On that day, the Kaiser took Theodosia's family, her land, and her name. Theo was crowned Ash Princess--a title of shame to bear in her new life as a prisoner.

For ten years Theo has been a captive in her own palace. She's endured the relentless abuse and ridicule of the Kaiser and his court. She is powerless, surviving in her new world only by burying the girl she was deep inside.

Then, one night, the Kaiser forces her to do the unthinkable. With blood on her hands and all hope of reclaiming her throne lost, she realizes that surviving is no longer enough. But she does have a weapon: her mind is sharper than any sword. And power isn't always won on the battlefield.

For ten years, the Ash Princess has seen her land pillaged and her people enslaved. That all ends here.


Review:
What happens to the last in a royal line after her land is conquered?  This wildly imaginative book, Ash Princess, by Laura Sebastian, aims to show how this lone young woman, Theodosia/Thora, used as a political pawn her whole life, rises up to become the leader her people need.

What I Liked:

Setting/World Building:
I found the idea of gemstones having power, with some people being able to manipulate this, really fun.  The magical abilities that the Estrians have is really exciting and is used to wonderful effect.

Characters:
Theodosia:
Theodosia starts out as a frightened teenager who will do anything to appease her captors.  But when she is forced to kill a beloved member of her household, she finally has had enough.

It takes a while in the story for Theodosia to realize who her friends are and who are not, but that was a compelling journey for the reader.  I loved this character.  She was not instantly brave or strong, but is moving towards those qualities.

Crissentia:
Criss is Thora's best friend, but also the daughter of one of the most brutal members of the conquering enemy.  While Criss is very kind to Thora, she is amazingly oblivious to the emotional turmoil that Theodosia is experiencing at the hands of the Kaiser.  I actually think she is willfully ignorant in order to live with herself.  I liked that Criss is a complicated character, not a caricature of a pampered daughter.

Soren:
The son of the Kaiser, Soren has trained all his life in the art of military conquest.  I like how conflicted he is when he realizes what his father's regime is actually doing to the native people.  

Story:
This could easily be an analogy to the imperialism of many countries (USA, England, Russia, etc.).  The book demonstrates the systematic subjugation of a group of people, and how people look the other way if their life is comfortable.

By the time the people begin to rebel, I am firmly on the side of the oppressed!  There was a powerful dose of suspense which made this book a page turner (or in the audio book's version, a binge listen).


What I Was Mixed About:

Setting:  
Why is it that every "Royal" story is set in what seems like the British Middle Ages?  I know that this is a fun setting (who doesn't want to be a princess?), but so many books are doing this.

What I Didn't Like:

Characters:
In this same vein, there was little, if any diversity.  Yes, Medieval England didn't have people of color, or with attributes that were obviously different.  

The author made a small attempt at diversity by making a minor character gay, but I felt this was done as an afterthought.  The character wasn't fully developed enough for me to feel any empathy.  

I really think the time of making straight, white characters, the default should be over.


Rating: 



Release Date:  April 24th, 2018

Genre:  YA Fantasy

Publisher:  Listening Library

Author:  Laura Sebastian

Narrator:  Saskia Maarleveld

Listening Length:  13 Hours, 18 Minutes

Page Length:  432 Pages

Format:  Audio Book

Source:  Random House Audio

Recommendation:  An exciting fantasy journey.  I loved experiencing the point of view of a conquered person in her own kingdom.  I just wish there was more diversity of characters and setting.
   
SHARE ON: Share to Pinterest
Saturday, April 21, 2018

Stacking The Shelves # 121 & Sunday Post #85




 
I am combining two great blog hops:  Stacking The Shelves (a Saturday feature by Team Tynga's Reviews), and Sunday Post (a Sunday feature by the Caffeinated Book Reviewer).  Both of these features give people a chance to post about what books they received and also an opportunity to catch a glimpse of what others are excited about.  I really enjoy seeing everyone's version of these features!   All book covers are linked to Goodreads, if you want to check them out.  If you enjoy my blog, please consider following me via Bloglovin, Networked Blogs, GFC, or by email subscription.  If you leave a comment and tell me you are a new follower, I will follow you back! 

On The Blog:
I've been pretty busy with work, so I haven't done much blogging lately.  I will try to write more on the weekends, so I don't get stressed out about posting. I still feel that I have a lot to say about books, and I hope you will want to read what I want to write about.

Tuesday:  Audio ARC Review:  The House of Broken Angels by Luis Alberto Urrea

I really admire this author and absolutely LOVED this book.  The audio book is narrated by the author, himself, which added much to my understanding of the text.

In "Real Life":
This week has been very stressful due to a health scare.  Thank goodness all is resolved and I am doing well.  But I have not wanted to do much beyond sleep.

I did manage to participate in a book club sponsored by the wonderful bookstore named A Great Good Place For Books, in Oakland.  We were discussing Hum If You Don't Know The Words, by Bianca Marais.  We had a great talk with some really interesting people.  Next month, we will read, The 57 Bus by Dashka Slater.

New Books:

Public Library:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2277378.The_Cruelest_Month?ac=1&from_search=true

Bought:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/9595650-hexed?ac=1&from_search=true

NetGalley:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34431692-kill-the-farm-boy?ac=1&from_search=true

That's it for this week.  Thank you for reading this.  Have an amazing week!



 
SHARE ON: Share to Pinterest
Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Audio Book Review: The House of Broken Angels by Luis Alberto Urrea

Please Note:  I received an advance audio copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This did not influence the opinions of my review in any way.

Synopsis (From Goodreads):
Prizewinning and bestselling writer Luis Urrea has written his Mexican coming-to-America story and his masterpiece. Destined to sit alongside other classic immigrant novels, THE HOUSE OF BROKEN ANGELS is a sprawling and epic family saga helmed by patriarch Big Angel. The novel gathers together the entire De La Cruz clan, as they meet for the final birthday party Big Angel is throwing for himself, at home in San Diego, as he nears the end of his struggle with cancer and reflects on his long and full life.

But when Big Angel's mother, Mama America, approaching one hundred, dies herself as the party nears, he must plan her funeral as well. There will be two family affairs in one weekend: a farewell double-header. Among the attendants is his half-brother and namesake, Little Angel, who comes face to face with the siblings with whom he shared a father but not, as the weekend proceeds to remind him, a life.

This story of the De La Cruzes is the story of what it means to be a Mexican in America, to have lived two lives across one border. It is a tale of the ravaging power of death to shore up the bits of life you have forgotten, whether by choice or not. Above all, this finely wrought portrait of a deeply complex family and the America they have come to call home is Urrea at his purest and best. Teeming with brilliance and humor, authentic at every turn, THE HOUSE OF BROKEN ANGELS cements his reputation as a storyteller of the first rank. 


Review:
Luis Alberto Urrea is one of my favorite authors.  He is the product of a Mexican father and a Caucasian mother, so I have feel an immediate kinship with his books.  The House of Broken Angels, I think is the author's most powerful book yet, and has quickly become my new favorite.  With a large cast of familial characters, Urrea perfectly captures the drama, and entertainment value, of Mexican family gatherings.

What I Liked:

Narration:
This is a book where one MUST listen to the audio book to get the greatest enjoyment!!!  And the novel is narrated by no other than... The author, himself!  Hearing this book told in the author's voice brings to life every sentence with the perfect emphasis and intonation.   Urrea's delivery is at varying times funny, biting, and rather sexy!

Setting & Story:
The book is centered around a funeral, and then a blow-out birthday party for the main character, Big Angel.  Mexican milestones are big affairs, filled with music, food, laughter, and family drama.  With these occasions as a backdrop, we get to know all the members of the extended De La Cruz family.  Each has a compelling story.

All of the backstories converge into an epic event at the final birthday party of Big Angel.  The climatic scene is full of suspense, and loads of humor, as we see a series of events lead to a confrontation for the ages!  

Characters:
The story is told from the point of view of the main character, Big Angel.  His observations of his family are full of love, and acid.  As his life is drawing to a close (he is dying of cancer), he thinks back on his life, his marriage, and his children.  He is both proud and full of regret.  

I loved the book's depiction of Angel and Pella's long marriage.  This is an enduring relationship full of love, sex, and appreciation.  While their habits may drive each other crazy, husband and wife are still in love.

But the story also takes turns with points of view's of each of Big Angel's family.  I loved how we learn more about Big Angel through all the other stories.  Put together, this is a rich tapestry of a large, wonderful family.



Rating: 





Release Date:  March 6th, 2018

Genre:  General Fiction

Publisher:  Hachette Audio

Narrator:  Luis Alberto Urrea

Listening Length:  9 Hours, 46 Minutes

Page Length:  336 Pages

Format:  Audio Book

Source: Public Library

Recommendation: A must read (listen) for fans of Luis Alberto Urrea.  This is a sweeping tale of a Mexican family.  I loved it.


 
SHARE ON: Share to Pinterest
Thursday, April 12, 2018

Audio ARC Review: I Have Lost My Way by Gayle Forman

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36470842-i-have-lost-my-way?ac=1&from_search=true
Please Note:  I have received an advance audio copy of this book from Listening Library in exchange for an honest review.  This did not influence the opinions of my review in any way.

Synopsis (From Goodreads):

Around the time that Freya loses her voice while recording her debut album, Harun is making plans to run away from everyone he has ever loved, and Nathaniel is arriving in New York City with a backpack, a desperate plan, and nothing left to lose. When a fateful accident draws these three strangers together, their secrets start to unravel as they begin to understand that the way out of their own loss might just lie in help­ing the others out of theirs.

Review:

Although most readers know Gayle Forman from her popular YA books, such as If I Stay, I have only read her recent general fiction novel, Leave Me.  I really enjoyed it, so I happily started listening to this audio book.  With an eclectic mix of main characters, this book pulled me in and I couldn't stop listening.  



What I Liked:
Characters:
There are three main characters, each with a powerful backstory:  Freya, an aspiring singer, Huran, a boy from a traditional immigrant family who is secretly gay, and Nathaniel, who has been neglected by a parent with mental health issues.  Each is wrapped up in their own problems when a chance incident in New York's Central Park throws them together.

I really liked Freya, and was fascinated by her quest to become a famous singer.  But is this her dream (to impress an absent father), or her mother's?  After showing some talent in a Youtube video, Freya is packaged and groomed to flourish on social media by her pushy mother.  Everyone seems to want to cash in on Freya's talent.  This is a potent reminder of how young people are treated in the music industry.  No wonder there are so many one-hit wonders out there!

Huran, is also a wonderful character.  We follow his backstory going back to his childhood when he first understands he is gay, to present day, where he must find the courage to come out.  He loves his family, religion, and culture and feels he will be ostracized if his family knew he was gay. When he finds love, he must face losing his boyfriend, or losing his family.

I was less enthusiastic about Nathaniel, but I will get to that later.

Themes:
All three characters show a longing to have a strong, supportive home life.  I think this is something everyone needs, particularly teens, today.  With so much divisiveness, and cruelty in this world, shouldn't our families be filled with loving, accepting people who will have our backs?  I know lots of teens and it breaks my heart that some of them can't find this at home.  Even though the three teens have very different problems, it all boils down to them desperately wanting a support system.

Audio Production:
This is one instance where I think listening to the audio book is preferable to just reading the novel.  Not only are the narrators (Nicole Lewis, Sunil Malhotra, and Michael Crouch) wonderful, but there is original music that is important to the story, as well.   With words and music by Gayle Forman, an Libba Bray (who knew?), this is such a lovely song.  It really adds so much to the story.





What I Didn't Like:

Characters:
I had some problems with Nathaniel.  While I was really rooting for him, and was touched by his difficult circumstances, I felt some of his actions were beyond credible.  Without giving too much away, Nathaniel is neglected to such a degree that something life-altering happens to him.  Rather than getting help, he just pretends that everything is okay.  He doesn't even seem that upset about this extremely terrible thing that will change his whole life.  The father's oft quoted line, "Don't tell your mother", is taken to beyond reason.  I don't know of any teen who would have accepted this. 

Rating: 


 

Release Date:  April 1st, 2018

Author:  Gayle Forman

Genre:  YA Contemporary

Publisher:  Listening Library

Listening Length:  7 Hours, 29 Minutes

Page Length:  368 Pages

Source:  Listening Library

Format:  Audio Book

Recommendation:  With solid performances and original music, this is a very entertaining novel about every teen's need to be loved by their family.





 

SHARE ON: Share to Pinterest
Tuesday, April 10, 2018

ARC Review: Sophia of Silicon Valley by Anna Yen

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35230483-sophia-of-silicon-valley?ac=1&from_search=true
Please Note:  I received an advance copy of this book from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.  This did not influence the opinions of my review in any way.

Synopsis (From Goodreads):
During the heady years of the tech boom, incorrigibly frank Sophia Young lucks into a job that puts her directly in the path of Scott Kraft, the eccentric CEO of Treehouse, a studio whose animated films are transforming movies forever. Overnight, Sophia becomes an unlikely nerd whisperer. Whether her success is due to dumb luck, savage assertiveness, insightful finesse (learned by dealing with her irrational Chinese immigrant mother), or a combination of all three, in her rarified position she finds she can truly shine.

As Scott Kraft’s right-hand woman, whip-smart Sophia is in the eye of the storm, sometimes floundering, sometimes nearly losing relationships and her health, but ultimately learning what it means to take charge of her own future the way the men around her do. But when engineer/inventor Andre Stark hires her to run his company’s investor relations, Sophia discovers that the big paycheck and high-status career she’s created for herself may not be worth living in the toxic environment of a boys-club gone bad.


Review:

Living for the past twenty years in the San Francisco Bay area, I have seen the dot.com boom in real time.  So when I read the synopsis of Sophia of Silicon Valley, by Anna Yen, I was very excited, and was rewarded with a fun, entertaining novel.  With an insider view of the fast-paced world of tech start-ups and IPOs from the viewpoint of young go-getter Sophia, this was a wonderful book.  I loved following her adventures.

What I Liked:

Setting:
This book astutely avoids stating exactly when the book takes place.  This is smart so that the author can mix several legendary start-ups into her story.  The reader gets a behind the scenes look at the beginnings of a Pixar like company.  The excitement of witnessing history is palatable, as is the inside view of working with tech icons modeled after Steve Job and Elon Musk.

Characters:
Sophia is a strong young woman trying to balance work, romance, and the obligations of being in a Chinese-American family.  She also has diabetes, which plays a prominent role in the novel.

I liked Sophia's character develop from a young person with shaky confidence, to a self-assured, competent adult.  She still has moments where she is unsure of what she wants in her personal life, but she figures it out.

I loved, loved, loved the characters of Scott (modeled after Steve Jobs), and Andre (very much like Elon Musk).  She brings these legends to life and shows why people are mesmerized by these innovators.  Reading about them made me want to go out and create something! 

Story:
The story follows Sophia as she navigates the tech world through the IPO process.  I enjoyed the insider look at the whole process of how a company goes public.  Sounds boring?  No way!  These are high stakes where a rumor can threaten to derail even the most carefully planned IPO.

What I was mixed about:
Story:
(I'm going to try to talk about this part without spoilers..)
 
Although I loved the parts of the story where Sophia is involved with tech companies, I was scratching my head at some of the author's other choices.

I thought the part when Sophia's health was threatened was a bit melodramatic.  It was also taken care of a little too easily.  I have personal experience with a similar illness, and it takes at least a year to feel normal again.  Yet, Sophia was good to go after six weeks.  Not very realistic, in my opinion.


Rating: 




Release Date:  April 10th, 2018


Author:  Anna Yen

Publisher:  William Morrow

Page Length:  368 Pages

Format:  E-Book

Source:  Edelweiss

Recommendation: A must-read if you want to feel like an insider in Silicon Valley.

 
SHARE ON: Share to Pinterest
Saturday, April 7, 2018

Stacking The Shelves #120 & Sunday Post #84





I am combining two great blog hops:  Stacking The Shelves (a Saturday feature by Team Tynga's Reviews), and Sunday Post (a Sunday feature by the Caffeinated Book Reviewer).  Both of these features give people a chance to post about what books they received and also an opportunity to catch a glimpse of what others are excited about.  I really enjoy seeing everyone's version of these features!   All book covers are linked to Goodreads, if you want to check them out.  If you enjoy my blog, please consider following me via Bloglovin, Networked Blogs, GFC, or by email subscription.  If you leave a comment and tell me you are a new follower, I will follow you back! 
On The Blog:
Monday:  The Take Control of your TBR Challenge Round Up
Tuesday:  ARC Review:  Munmun by Jessie Andrews
Thursday:  Book Review:  The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
In "Real Life":
We had a wonderful week off from work, going to Santa Barbara to visit family.  While the weather was not the usual balmy Southern California warmth, it was still great to see our families, eat delicious food, and take long walks along the Riviera area of the city.  
We were also able to see, up close, the devastation of the fires that happened in December.  Driving along highway 154 (San Marcos Pass), we could see the landscape that looked more like a moonscape, and all the many trees, blackened with soot.  Many of my family members had to be evacuated due to the fires, and, as recently as last week, due to the possibility of mudslides.  Seeing this made it much more real to me.
New Books:
Public Library:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35604591-the-house-of-broken-angels?ac=1&from_search=true
 
Audio Books for Review:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36470842-i-have-lost-my-way?ac=1&from_search=true
Thank you Listening Library!

NetGalley:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36987724-the-lost-love-letters-of-henri-fournier?ac=1&from_search=true
 For review

Purchased:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/9533378-hounded?ac=1&from_search=true
I have heard so much about the Iron Druid series.  I tried to find the audio book through the library, but they didn't have it.  So I finally broke down and bought the book and the audio book.

I hope you had a great week!  What great books did you get this week?  Let me know in the comments.



SHARE ON: Share to Pinterest

Follow by Email

GoodReads

2019 Reading Challenge

2019 Reading Challenge
MsArdychan has read 10 books toward her goal of 120 books.
hide

Badges

80% 80% 100 Book Reviews 2016 NetGalley Challenge
clean sweep 2017

Popular Posts

Grab My Button

http://ponderingtheprose.blogspot.com
<a href=“http://ponderingtheprose.blogspot.com" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><img src="
http://ponderingtheprose.blogspot.com

Blogs I Follow

Search This Blog