Monthly Archives: July 2015

Review – Mosquitoland


 Title: Mosquitoland

 Author: David Arnold

 2015 – YA – Realistic Fiction

 Rating: 4/5

 Source: Library

The Story: After the divorce of her parents, Mim finds herself in a new home in Mississippi, living with her dad and his new wife. Then the letters and phone calls from her mother stop suddenly, leaving Mim feeling abandoned. So she leaves home to take a trip up to Ohio to find her mom and the answers she’s been seeking. With plenty of quirky characters and stops along the way, Mim’s journey quickly becomes more than it seems.

The Opening Line: I am Mary Iris Malone, and I am not okay.

Thoughts: When this book first began making the rounds online, I decided pretty quickly that I would probably never read it. Based on blog reviews, official blurbs, and just the look of the book itself, I concluded that I probably wouldn’t enjoy it, so why waste the time reading it?

Friends, I was wrong. I don’t remember why I picked it up. I know the author lives in the same city as me because I missed seeing him at the local bookstore a while back. So maybe that was the reason I picked it up. Or maybe since EVERYONE seemed to be reading it, I wanted to know what the fuss was all about.

Turns out, there’s a pretty deep story and some lasting lessons to be found in Mosquitoland. The book deals with everything from friendships to family issues to mental illness to sexual assault. On the surface, it’s about Mim’s journey on a Greyhound bus from Mississippi to Ohio. Pretty simple, right? Buy a ticket, ride, arrive. But that wouldn’t make for an interesting book, so Arnold shakes things up by inserting some quirky characters and unpredictable events that force Mim to slow down and evaluate her life.

From Walt, the sweet homeless kid with Down Syndrome, to Beck, the cute college guy who offers to drive her to Ohio, to Arlene, the older lady Mim meets on the bus, the characters run the gamut of human behavior and personality. Each one has a lasting effect on Mim, teaching her how to look beyond her own perspective and let others influence her for the better.

A great takeaway from Mosquitoland is that things may truly be more than they seem. Mim sees only a limited perspective, but as she learns more and more, she is able to reevaluate how she views the relationships in her life. In my own life, I have to do this almost on a daily basis. I have to remind myself that people are humans, that they have their own struggles and triumphs that I know nothing about that influence the way they interact with me. I have to admit that they have context that I don’t always understand. I have to remind myself to have patience in interactions, whether with strangers or with my roommates. I often find that I have learned something from people that I wouldn’t have learned had I brushed them off.

I’m glad I picked this up. I’m glad my first impressions of this book, as they often are with people, were wrong. I’m glad I let Mim into my life. It was worth it.



Filed under Reviews

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?


It’s Monday! is a weekly meme originally hosted over at Book Journey that allows bloggers to post a sort of wrap-up of the past week while also looking to the week ahead. Without further ado…

Last Week: My life felt so hectic last week! With a mandatory Saturday, we completed our move to our new campus, which is all bright and shiny and pretty! To celebrate, we had an outing to a local restaurant one evening. In addition, my sister came up to stay with us for a few days and our friend Sarah was up for a day as well. We played a ton of board games, almost everything in our nerdy arsenal – Zombie Dice, Love Letter, Concept, Smash Up, Betrayal at House on the Hill, Ticket to Ride. The more I play board games, the more I love board games!

Sadly, when my life gets hectic, things begin to suffer. Reading in particular, mostly because reading is a generally solitary thing. Nothing is better than a quiet room, cup of tea, and a cozy blanket to aid my escape into a good book. With all the ruckus, I’m surprised I read anything last week.


Seraphina by Rachel Hartman Seraphina by Rachel Hartman Sex Criminals, Vol. 1 by Matt Fraction Awake by Natasha Preston

Currently Reading: Shadow Scale (Seraphina #2) – Rachel Hartman

Shadow Scale (Seraphina, #2)

Looking Ahead: Sequels. A roommate reading challenge with Katie. A nonfiction read-along hosted over at Doing Dewey. Review copies. Library holds. A series that I should have read a long time ago. I’m just hoping that my life settles down enough this week to get some great quality reading time in.

The Diviners (The Diviners, #1) Lair of Dreams (The Diviners, #2) Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void War and Peace

And of course, we’ll probably play more board games this week. I swear, it’s my new obsession! Here’s hoping everyone has a great week!


Filed under It's Monday! What are You Reading?

Preview – Awake


 Title: Awake

 Author: Natasha Preston

 YA – Realistic Fiction

 Release Date: August 4, 2015

 Source: NetGalley

I keep swearing to myself that I won’t request ALL THE THINGS on NetGalley and then I go and do it anyway. I guess I can’t resist the lure of a great premise, especially when I can theoretically push my reading of said book a little into the future so it doesn’t screw up my current reading plan.

Awake is one of those books with a great premise. Scarlett doesn’t have any memories before the age of five, and her parents have told her that her memory loss is due to a house fire. But when her family is in a car accident and Scarlett has some strange dreams, she begins to wonder if those dreams are actually memories. She slowly begins to piece together her lost memories – memories of a cult, a strange girl, and fire. She realizes that what she knows about her family is all wrong. And her boyfriend Noah may also not be what he seems.

The thing I really liked about this novel is that its premise kept me reading. Throw in an uncertain origin story and a crazy cult with secret rituals and you’ve got me hooked. Even if I had hated this book, I would have kept reading solely to find out what happened. I think the most interesting thing about cults is that they can seem really innocent in their intent but may be more nefarious from afar. Eternal Light, the cult from the novel, is a group all about living off the grid – eating healthy, restricting technology, living communally. But there’s also a darker side, in which a sacrifice is needed to ensure eternal life for the members.

Unfortunately, the really compelling aspects of Awake were overshadowed by some issues that I couldn’t overlook in the end. Let’s deal with the issue of insta-love first. Noah shows up as the new kid at school (which is a cliche in and of itself), and by the end of the period,  they’re hooked on each other. By the end of the month, they’re talking marriage. What the heck? The other issue I found also revolves around Noah, but I can’t really say much about it because…spoilers. Which sucks, because I want to talk about it.

So in the end, I’m not sure how I feel about the book overall. I can’t in good faith recommend it to anyone looking for a really well-written, well-developed story with dynamic characters. But the story did compel me to read all the way through, so if you can get past the major issues, you might enjoy the story as a light read.


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