50 Book Challenge 2016 – June

June was a month dedicated to writing and editing, so not much reading got done.I’m not too confident with my reading progress this year, but I’ve been doing so much more reading for school and research that I think I’ll forgive myself for not meeting my goal this month.

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January – 4/4
1. Glass Ceiling by Julie LaVoie <SEE REVIEW HERE>
2. Library of Souls (Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children #3) by Ransom Riggs
3. Cress (The Lunar Chronicles #3) by Marissa Meyer
4. The Iron Warrior (The Iron Fey #6) by Julie Kagawa

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February – 4/4
1. Immortal Beloved (Immortal Beloved #1) by Cate Tiernan <SERIES REVIEW>
2. Darkness Falls (Immortal Beloved #2) by Cate Tiernan
3. Eternally Yours (Immortal Beloved #3) by Cate Tiernan
4. Snow Like Ashes (Snow Like Ashes #1) by Sara Raasch

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March – 5/4
1. Annabeth Neverending by Leyla Kader Dahm
2. Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices #1) by Cassandra Clare
3. Godless by Pete Hautman <SEE REVIEW HERE>
4. Winter (The Lunar Chronicles #4) by Marissa Meyer
5. Queen (The Blackcoat Rebellion #3) by Aimee Carter <SEE REVIEW HERE>

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April – 4/4
1. Fairest (The Lunar Chronicles #3.5) by Marissa Meyer
2. Ice Like Fire (Snow Like Ashes #2) by Sara Raasch
3. Clockwork Prince (The Infernal Devices #2) by Cassandra Clare
4. Daughter of the Sun (Cult of the Cat #1) by Zoe Kalo <SEE REVIEW HERE>

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May – 4/4
1.Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices #3) by Cassandra Clare <SERIES REVIEW>
2. A Mad Zombie Party (White Rabbit Chronicles #4) by Gena Showalter
3. Offered to the Werewolves (Shifters of Shadow Falls #1) Crystal L Shaw
4. Arena (Arena #1) by Holly Jennings

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June – 3/4
1.Frostfire (Kanin Chronicles #1) by Amanda Hocking
2. Ice Kissed (Kanin Chronicles #2) by Amanda Hocking
3. A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2) by Sarah J Maas
4. MEH

2016 Total – 24/50

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Quote of the Day: Oscar Wilde

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“The books that the world calls immoral are books that show the world its own shame.”
― Oscar Wilde

Book Review: Daughter of the Sun

A book about Egyptian Gods, cats and magic (and it’s released on my birthday?) … I think Daughter of the Sun was meant for me! I am so thankful to Xpresso Book Tours for the chance to review this debut novel by Zoe Kalo.

28934536Daughter of the Sun
by Zoe Kalo
Release Date: May 2016
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Summary from Goodreads:

Sixteen-year-old Trinity was born during a solar eclipse and left at the doorsteps of a convent along with a torn piece of papyrus covered with ancient symbols. Raised by nuns in the English countryside, she leads a quiet life until she’s whisked away to the Island of Cats and a grandmother she never knew.
But before they can get to know each other, her grandmother dies. All that Trinity has left is a mysterious eye-shaped ring. And a thousand grieving cats. As Trinity tries to solve the enigma of the torn papyrus, she discovers a world of bloody sacrifices and evil curses, and a prophecy that points to her and her new feline abilities.
Unwilling to believe that any of the Egyptian gods could still be alive, Trinity turns to eighteen-year-old Seth and is instantly pulled into a vortex of sensations that forces her to confront her true self—and a horrifying destiny.

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As a self identifying egyptophile, I get so excited when authors choose Ancient Egyptian mythology / culture / history / religion as a base for a new book. As a practicing Pagan, I’m always a little leery about books involving the Gods of Egypt. Of course there were some artistic license when it came to facts about the Gods (eg, Apep is technically not a God and Ammit did not work for him.) However, Daughter of the Sun was a pleasing read on all accounts.

I’ll admit that it took me a while to get “into” Trinity, our heroine. After around the 30% mark I was completely won over and couldn’t put the book down. I loved her chemistry with Seth, and while there was some teenage crushing and hormones flying, I was happy that this book is insta-love free!

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It is also worth noting that Zoe Kalo is presumably a great lover of cats (and if you doubt me feel free to check out all the adorable kitten photos on her twitter). She way she writes cats into the book is astounding. Every little quirk, mew and lick is incredibly authentic. I love it when a writer is skilled at writing about the animals in the character’s story, it makes it more warm and fuzzy, no pun intended.

However, Daughter of the Sun was not without its faults. The plot moved along a bit too quickly for my liking, falling into the “telling not showing” trap that I as a reader and a writer am all to familiar with. I would have like to see things slowed down a bit so I could get to know Trinity better before her life was turned upside down. As the story went on the narration of pacing did improved a lot.

I hope as the series goes on, Trinity stops being afraid of witchcraft and magic and accepts her powers for what they are. It bums me out when magic doers are instantly labeled bad or cast as villains.

Wrapping up, this was a quick read by a new author who shows much promise. The story was wonderfully imaginative and I hope to see more authors taking inspiration from Ancient Egypt. I can’t wait to read the second installment in the trilogy – but sadly there is no indication on the author’s Goodreads page when that will be.

A free copy of this book was provided for an honest review. Thank you Xpresso Book Tours!

*************a Rafflecopter giveaway*************

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Book Review: Godless

Despite it being published over ten years ago, I’d never heard of Godless until I was browsing Book Outlet. It was a quick (under 200 pages) read that was filled to the brim with a healthy mix of satire and philosophy.
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Godless

by Pete Hautman
Release Date: November 2005
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Summary from Goodreads:

“Why mess around with Catholicism when you can have your own customized religion?”
Fed up with his parents’ boring old religion, agnostic-going-on-atheist Jason Bock invents a new god — the town’s water tower. He recruits an unlikely group of worshippers: his snail-farming best friend, Shin, cute-as-a-button (whatever that means) Magda Price, and the violent and unpredictable Henry Stagg. As their religion grows, it takes on a life of its own. While Jason struggles to keep the faith pure, Shin obsesses over writing their bible, and the explosive Henry schemes to make the new faith even more exciting — and dangerous.
When the Chutengodians hold their first ceremony high atop the dome of the water tower, things quickly go from merely dangerous to terrifying and deadly. Jason soon realizes that inventing a religion is a lot easier than controlling it, but control it he must, before his creation destroys both his friends and himself.

I knew from the blurb on the back of the book that I would enjoy Godless. I am a person who is intrigued with religion, comparisons, satire and everything else under that umbrella. I have a lot of respect for people who question the religions they grew up in as well as respect for people who have strong faith (as long as they aren’t fanatics about it.)

Godless commented on a number of concepts. Jason was bored of the religion of his father (Catholicism). He has a spiritual experience under the city’s giant water tower and decided to start his own religion. Very quickly, he learns that it’s easy to start a religion but not so easy to control it.

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Many people have a religion but no faith. Some people go to church, mosque or temple simply because it’s what their parents do. Very few people believe 100%, including myself. I appreciated this part of the commentary the most. Finding a spirituality (or lack thereof) that works for someone is such a personal experience, no two are alike.

Out of all the inanimate objects to worship, I would agree that the water tower does make a lot of sense, seeing how every living thing needs water to survive. As a Pagan, I believe that I understand this choice better than someone who comes from a stricter Abrahamic faith.

Pete Hautman explains in his notes that the inspiration for this book came from all the questioning he went through as a teen. During a debate with his friends (who were from other religions) someone just asked the question “What if the water tower is God?” Godless answers that question.

Godless is very deserving of the National Book Award, and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys a bit of blasphemy and a bit of soul searching.