Adult Historical, Reviews, Special Review

Book Review: The Book of Crows by Sam Meekings

 

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of the review, first I want to talk about the unique way I read this book. I read The Book of Crows on The Pigeonhole. They are a website where you buy a book and read it collectively with other people. You say isn’t that a book club and can’t we do that right now? What guarantees me someone won’t read ahead? Well… the thing about The Pigeonhole is that they release staves approximately each night, so everyone is at the same spot in the book as everyone else. This gives you the opportunity to read the book and discuss it in real time. I thought it was pretty neat and if it weren’t for this format, I most likely would have never read a book like The Book of Crows. 

Summary:

A young girl is kidnapped and taken through the desert to an isolated mountain brothel. Two thousand years later, after a suspicious landslide near Lanzhou, a low-level bureaucrat searches for a missing colleague. A thirteenth-century Franciscan monk, traversing the Silk Road, begins his extraordinary deathbed confession, while five hundred years earlier, a grieving Chinese poet is summoned to the Emperor’s palace.

In a series of delicately interlaced stories, Sam Meekings’ richly poetic and gripping second novel follows the journeys of characters whose lives, separated by millennia, are all in some way touched by the mysterious Book of Crows, a mythical book in which the entire history of the world – past, present and future – is written down.

Review:

Holy Crap. That ending. I didn’t see it coming at all. But… Alright, let’s rewind…

At the beginning of the story we learn about a woman who is now in a whorehouse, and a man on a journey to find his friend. It starts off slow, but picks up quickly and you start piecing the story together. As you continue to read, more characters are brought to light and you start seeing how each character is connected to The Book of Crows. Many want to find it, while others want to destroy it. There is great mystery surrounding the book that has been revered and searched for centuries.

Each character’s story you are introduced to throughout the book is in a different time era. I really enjoyed this because the reader is able to see how much intrigue and chaos the book has caused. It’s legacy has lived through many generations.

Overall, I really like the concept, how the story was set up, and how each key part of the story was revealed. I believe that reading it in staves how The Pigeonhole set it up made my reading experience better because you had to hold on and ponder on what you read, adding to the mystery of it all.

I feel like the average YA reader might not like The Book of Crows, but if you are a history lover and/or mystery in itself, you might enjoy it.

 

Rating:  4/5

Disclaimer: I’d like to thank The Pigeonhole for providing me with a copy of The Book of Crows. Receiving this book for free does not influence my opinion in any way.

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Anniversary

Top 4 Books of 2016 (Anniversary Week)

top-books

Veronica’s Top 4 Books:

1. Killer Instinct by Jennifer Lynn Barnes – The person I always go to for a murder/investigative story is Jennifer Lynn Barnes. She never disappoints and Killer Instinct was a great book. It has everything you want in an investigative novel and more.

2. I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios – I read this during the first half of 2016 before I came to South Korea and it has stayed with me. The happy feeling I associate with this book is everything and more. If you’re looking for a great contemporary, look no further. Read this book!

3. Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch – Ahhhhh. This book is bittersweet. We follow two different story lines that are connected, but one of them breaks your heart, while the other can be sad at times, but the ending leaves you full of hope and satisfaction. 

4. When I Was Yours by Samantha Towle – Oh dear. This book is a heartbreaker alright, but it’s worth it. The pain you will feel really is worth it, and that ending was the best. Actually the entire reading journey was the best. I blame Liz for this one. 

Liz’s Top 4 Books:

1. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas – This book was one I didn’t see coming. I really enjoyed A Court of Thornes and Roses but my god, did this sequel wreck me. I couldn’t stop thinking about it for weeks. 

2. Passenger by Alexandra Bracken –  This was the first book I read by her and I absolutely fell in love. it has everything I love- romance, time travel, different time periods, bad guys, mystery. Can’t wait for the sequel. 

3. Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman – This was my favorite historical romance of the year. It’s about Blackbeard before he was Blackbeard. She stole my heart. You flip between two perspective- Teach and Anne. It is a beautifully written story of love and heartbreak.

4. Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris CleaveThis was my first read for 2016. I was absolutely devastated by this book. It takes place right at the start of WWII for Britain and flips between four different preservative. You won’t ever see the ending coming.

 

 

 

Anniversary, Editor Letter

The Talking Bookworm’s 4th Anniversary

Writers Corner

As I sit here in my classroom I reminisce on the past 4 years that I’ve had this blog. So much has happened. We’ve had changes in staff and other normal things, but we are still here and that is what counts.

The Talking Bookworm has evolved over the years to what it is today. Each year we grow in numbers and I hope you may agree in the quality of content as well. We cover more sub-genres than before and there has been more content on the blog compared last year and that is all thanks to Liz Brooks my co-blogger. The biggest change for the blog this past year was her presence and I am forever grateful she is a part of it.

Now, coming into the 4th year, I hope you will continue to visit this blog and be a part of our community. Thank you all for your constant support and love.

Here is to another fantastic year *raises glass* CHEERS!

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Contemporary Conversations

ContempConvos: Why is the YA Thriller/Spy genre underrated and underdeveloped?

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Disclaimer: So this past weekend was my birthday and I may have taken a day or two off. Sorry guys! But here is a discussion post that will make up for my silence this weekend! And yes, I am now 25. SAY WHAT?!

It is time I talk about a very important topic… and that important topic is Why is the YA Thriller/Spy genre underrated and underdeveloped? In other words, Why is it not as BIG as other YA sub-genres?

Think about this. You walk into a bookstore and beeline directly to the YA section. You see YA fantasy, YA paranormal, YA contemporary, YA dystopian, etc., but you don’t see a special section dedicated to the YA thriller/spy novels. Why is that?

First, we all know that there aren’t many YA spy/thriller novels out there to begin with. If we think long and hard about YA authors writing books for this specific sub-genre, there aren’t many. We have Jennifer Lynn Barnes, Ally Carter, Abby McDonald, and Lauren Oliver. But if you try to think even harder, you may come up empty-handed like I do.

I’m a big fan of the spy/thriller genre. I love me a good spy/con-man story that has you constantly at the edge of your seat. And the thing is those novels are not badly written, they are good, but why are they not as big as others from other sub-genres?

It just makes me sad that not many authors explore this sub-genre as much and that might be part of the problem. There are only a few household names when we think of the Thriller/Spy sub-genre.

I personally think it is because not many people want to take the risk of writing a thriller/spy/con man novel without the paranormal or fantasy element. It is much easier to go down the route many have gone than one that many have not passed through.

What are your thoughts? Do you agree or disagree with me? Are there more YA thriller/spy novels out there that I haven’t discovered yet?

Talk to me! I want to know what you guys think!

Editor Letter, Giveaway

HAPPY 3RD ANNIVERSARY TO THE TALKING BOOKWORM

Guys, I turn 3 years old TODAY!

As I meditate on the birth of this blog until now, I can only see the growth I’ve obtained as both a blogger and an individual. This blog has been with me through many milestones and I am glad this has been a constant in my life.

I would like to thank every single one of my readers and wonderful blogger friends for supporting me and reading my content. I wouldn’t be here today without you guys.

I want to do a little shot out to Emma (Miss Print), Anjie (Love Thy Shelf), Kayla (The Thousand Lives), and Andi (Andi’s ABC’s). You guys have been my rock through the years here in the book blogging community.

Also Liz, my co-blogger, thank you for taking time out of your busy life to do this with me. Don’t know what I would do without you!

And now to the most exciting part…

GIVEAWAY TIME!

*pops champagne*

The giveaway will run from December 12, 2015 12:00am PST to January 11, 2015 11:59pm PST. And to answer the unspoken question many of you have, yes this is an INTERNATIONAL GIVEAWAY. The prize is 1 book with a maximum value of $15 US dollars. If you live in the USA, it will be shipped to you via Amazon. If you live outside the USA, I will be using Book Depository to purchase the book.

Thanks again for everyone’s support. I love you all!

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Co-Blogger, Editor Letter, Other

Would you like to be a Reviewer/Co-Blogger for The Talking Bookworm?

Hey Guys! I have some exciting news! I’m looking for someone to join The Talking Bookworm family. In other words, I’m looking for a co-blogger.

If you are interested in writing book reviews and becoming a part of The Talking Bookworm family then keep on reading.

You don’t have to be an experienced blogger, but there are some requirements.

Requirements

You are committing yourself to posting a discussion post or book review once a week.

You need to have a twitter!

You must be a YA literature fan.

Genre’s I’m hoping you can cover are:

YA – Fantasy/Paranormal
YA – Dystopian
YA – Historical Fiction

I read a lot of YA Contemporary, NA contemporary, YA Romance, and NA Romance, so those are covered for the most part, but that doesn’t mean you can’t review a contemporary book occasionally.

You will need to participate in Contemporary Conversations in March/April 2016.

If you are interested in joining the The Talking Bookworm family, please fill out the form below. I will be closing out the form 2 weeks from now, on Sunday, November 1st.

**Update: Application has been closed early. Thank you all for applying!**

Contemporary Conversations

ContempConvos: Giveaway Winner!

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It is time to announce the giveaway winner!

First, I want to thank every single one of you one more time for participating either via posting, reading, tweeting, and any other way. You guys made this a really fun event and even though it was a lot of work for both Kayla and I, I think we would do it again in a heartbeat!

Now, what you have all been waiting for… drum roll please… The winner is:

NARA LEE

Congratulations! *throws confetti*

We have already contacted the winner. If the winner doesn’t respond within 48 hours, we will be picking another winner.

THANK YOU ALL AGAIN!