What’s Ashley Reading?: Warcross

I am not much of a gamer unless you count Lego games on the Wii?  My sister and I have spent many an hour playing Lego Harry Potter, Indiana Jones and Star Wars.

However, for the more intense gamer there is quite a selection here at the library.  We have several hundred games for seven different systems (Wii, WiiU, Nintendo Switch, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3 and PS4).  If you are interested in checking out a game it just requires a library card.  Each patron can check out two games per card for a week each time.

Warcross by Marie Lu

First line: It’s too damn cold of a day to be out on a hunt.

Summary: Everyone plays Warcross, the virtual reality game invented by a fourteen year old boy, Hideo Tanaka. It is a global sensation. When Emika Chen, a struggling bounty hunter, glitches into the Opening Ceremonies for the annual Warcross games she becomes an instant sensation. She is invited to come to Tokyo. Fearful that she is going to be arrested for tampering with the game she is surprised to learn that the game’s inventor wants to hire her to find the person who has been threatening to bring down the game and himself. What appears to be a normal bounty hunt becomes much more when Emika is chosen to be one of the players in the championship games.

Highlights: I really enjoy Lu’s writing style. It is simple but fast paced. I recently watched the movie, Ready Player One, and was surprised how much I liked it. I found this to be very similar in themes and feel. The idea of having these virtual reality worlds is amazing but does not seem like it will be too far in the future. I would love to be able to feel like I am in another world even though I am sitting at home on the couch. How cool is that? I always dreamed of having a holodeck, like on Star Trek. I want to live inside my books and virtual reality appears to be a solution for this.

Emika is a fun character to follow. She is intelligent, determined and resourceful. She has a funny side as well. When she meets Hideo she is shy but handles it well, even throwing out a few jokes. Even the romance is very nicely done. Emika has a followed Tanaka’s career since he became a global superstar. Their scenes together were always fun and filled with romantic tension. So cute!

I like that Lu has a very diverse cast of characters. Hopefully we will get to know her fellow team mates in the next book. One character I hope we get lots more of is Tremaine. He has several key moments in the book but at the end we learn more about him and his role in everything.

I already have book two, Wildcard, on my desk. I am itching to start reading it and see where Lu takes us next!

Lowlights: Several of the twists were a little predictable. However, with Lu’s writing and the pacing of the novel it can be easily overlooked. I thoroughly enjoyed reading/listening to this story and would highly recommend it.

FYI: Check out Lu’s other series, Legend, and her standalone novel about Bruce Wayne (a.k.a. Batman), Batman: Nightwalker.

Lit Pairings – Popular Diets

 

Welcome friends to the magical month known as January. Or as I like to think of it, Diet Month! I’m sure we’ve all done this little dance with ourselves once, twice or several times. You stuff yourself in the fall (or all year long, am I right?) and then you decided to pull it all back together and jump on the diet train at the beginning of the year.

A few years ago I had amazing success loosing weight and feeling great when I adopted a plant based diet. It was a game changer for me and was unlike anything I had ever tried before. I read Kimberly Snyders’s book,     The Beauty Detox, and jumped in with both feet! When I decide to do a diet or a lifestyle change (as popular media wants you to think of it) I want to lose weight but I also want to do something healthy that’s going to make me feel better. And I did feel better for around 2 years but as with most diets I slowly started letting the junk food creep back into my daily eating and then it all went to crap. I stopped eating well, so I started feeling bad and then I stopped working out!

I let myself just eat whatever I wanted to for awhile to see how I would feel and I’ll tell you I felt horrible! I was always hungry so I was constantly eating. About 6 months ago I decided to try Whole30. This was a great way to cut out the junk and remember to just limit my meals to simple, real food.

After doing Whole30 I started to hear a lot about Keto. Apparently it was the most Googled diet in 2018. So I pick up this book…

Let me start by saying if you are interested in doing Keto, please do your research because there is way more to it than just eating bacon and cheese! I’ve read several books, listened to podcasts and absorbed a lot of good and bad information online. I started my Keto journey and so far my results have been great. I feel good, I don’t have bloating and most importantly I’m not being ruled by constant hunger! How long will I stay on Keto? Who knows, but right now its the right thing for me and I think that’s what this magical month of January is all about – finding what works for you and hopefully helps you feel better in 2019.

 

 

 

What’s Ashley Reading?: Two Can Keep a Secret

Do you like true crime novels?  We have a really good selection here at the library.  I have not personally read many from this genre but they are constantly being checked out.  Authors like Ann Rule are the leaders in this area.  If you are looking for a true crime book we would be happy to help you find one or browse the 364.1 section of the non-fiction.

Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus

First line: If I believed in omens, this would be a bad one.

Summary: Ellery and Ezra move to live with their grandmother in the small town, Echo Ridge. This idyllic little town has a dark past. The twins’ aunt disappeared here more than 20 years ago. Another girl was murdered at the local theme park. Now there is a stalker bringing back the old memories and threatening the homecoming court. Ellery, a true crime enthusiast, is determined to get some answers. However, there everyone has a secret making it even harder to unravel the mysteries of Echo Ridge.

Highlights: I was really excited to get an advance copy of this book. I really enjoyed the author’s debut novel, One Of Us Is Lying. From the very beginning the mystery and intrigue presented to the reader. I loved how fast paced everything was. I liked all the little twists and turn throughout. I kept considering all different angles and was shocked when the killer is revealed. Great job, Karen! The characters were a lot of fun. I really wish we could have gotten more of Sadie, the twins’ mom. I want to visit Fright Farm, the Halloween theme park. Who doesn’t want to have Halloween all year around?

Lowlights: There are lot of characters and the chapters bounce back and forth between Ellery and Malcolm. I had a hard time keeping track of who was saying what. I think I needed to pay more attention to the chapter titles. So this may be more my fault rather than the books.

FYI: Perfect for fans of Sara Shepard’s, Pretty Little Liars series.

What’s Ashley Reading?: The Language of Thorns

It’s that time of year again!  Time to set a new reading goal for the year.  The last several years I have set a goal of 75 books.  I nearly doubled it with 145 books in 2018.  Do you have reading goals?  How do you track them?  I love Goodreads because I can create shelves, lists and make notes on what I read.  The Language of Thorns is my first completed book of the year and it definitely started the year off well!

The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

First line: In the year that summer stayed too long, the heat lay upon the prairie with the weight of a corpse.

Summary: A collection of five fairy tales and legends told by the best-selling author, Leigh Bardugo, brings the reader into a mystical world filled with enchanted nutcrackers, mermaids and witches.

Highlights: I absolutely loved these short stories. Bardugo is a master of world building and atmosphere. I have read several of her novels and enjoyed each one. She can do so much in just a few pages.

By far my favorite of the stories was the story of Clara and the nutcracker. It seems like we know this story but Bardugo puts her own twist on it making it darker and more intriguing.

The pages are stunning with their artwork at the borders. Each page adds more imagery that enhances the story. Plus, if you have read her books (Grisha Trilogy and Dregs Duology) you will find little Easter eggs embedded in the tales. I highly recommend this collection to anyone who loves fantasy and Russian style fairy tales.

FYI: If you enjoyed this then try the Winternight Trilogy by Katherine Arden. I read the third book in December and was once again blown away by Arden’s story telling abilities.