Junebugs go Bookworm, Vol. 4: OTPs + Mysteries

Monday, August 18, 2014


We're back from our vacation and while we pour over which of our billion photos to share with y'all we realized it was time for our monthly bookworm post!

Last month's bookworm post was the first time we told y'all in advance what we were going to review/recommend this month.  We hope some of you found the time to read one (or 2 or all 4) because we love a good book discussion, especially coming "fresh out of a read".  We chose these books because nothing makes us cry more than one of our OTP's ending up together and there is nothing better than a page-turning mystery... so we've included both for people at both ends of the fiction spectrum... or for those, who like a little of everything, why not!

June's recommendations 


Ready Player One by Ernest Cline was a *can't put it down, cover to cover* read for me.  But, that's not to say you won't enjoy it if your nerd roots don't go quite as deep.  I've read it and also listened to it via audiobook which Will Wheaton narrates so... I HIGHLY recommend it.  It's 2044... and the world has gone to shit.  Our protagonist, Wade Watts, like most other people, escapes reality by entering the OASIS, a virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be and where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets.  After his death, it is announced that OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of difficult puzzles or "easter eggs" in the OASIS that if solved, will yield unimaginable rewards, including ownership of the OASIS.

In the OASIS, Wade's avatar is Parzival and he's a "gunter", one of the millions of people who made it their job to discover and solve the puzzles left by Halliday (which, just so happen to be based around 80s pop culture).  Whether he's discussing the finer points of Pac Man , rehashing lines from The Breakfast Club, singing DEVO or learning tabs to Rush songs, Parzival is always prepping for discovery of the first easter egg with is BFF and primary competitor, Aech.

Then one day... Parzival finds the first egg and simultaneously *here enters our lovely lady protagonist, Art3mis*.  While the whole world watches, Wade competes with other powerful players who are willing to commit very real murder to beat him to the prize. And the only thing he can do to save himself and his friends... is win.


So, Junebug reader GrumpyBunny recommended The Rook by Daniel O'Malley to me during our very first bookworm post and I have since recommended it to about... 10 (or more) of you.  I absolutely LOVED this book.  Myfawany (pronounced Miffany - like Tiffany with an "M") Alice Thomas is one of several fantastical beings in a secret agency called the Chequy who guard an unknowing England from supernatural and otherworldly attacks (and each member is a little supernatural themselves).  And as it turns out there's a traitor in their midst...

One day Miss Thomas opens her eyes in the middle of a park in a downpour, beaten and bruised, surrounded by dead bodies wearing latex gloves.. and she has no clue who she is.  Fortunately for her, the former occupant of Myfanwy's body knew her memories would be wiped clean and thoroughly prepared for this event.  A note in her coat pocket  offers her two choices: begin a new life and assume a new identify or resume the life of the former Myfawany Thomas.  Which do you THINK she chose?  This leads her to a series of notebooks filled with profiles of her fellow counsel members and information about how to resume life without arising any suspicion while she attempts to figure out who the Chequy traitor is.

AMELIA'S RECOMMENDATIONS 


My first introduction to Rocket Boys: A Memoir by Homer H. Hickam, Jr. was actually the movie that was based on it, October Sky.  I was young when I saw October Sky, and it was years later that I read the memoir.  In my opinion, movies are never as good as books, but I do enjoy the movie even if there are quiet a few discrepancies.

I am a huge fan of memoirs.  I know some people can't really get into them, but I feel like even if you aren't a fan of memoirs you can enjoy Rocket Boys.  The memoir not only tells the story of Sonny and the other "rocket boys" it also details the life of a small town in West Virginia in the 50s and 60s.  

The rocket boys had no way to "get out" of Coalwood WV, and they were sure to end up working the coal mines like their fathers and grandfathers before them.  Sonny (which is Homer H. Hickam Jr.s' nickname) hears about the Russian Sputnik on the radio, he reads about it in newspapers, and eventually he sees it in his own backyard in "Coalwood, McDowell County, West Virginia, U.S.A.".  From that moment he kept thinking about Sputnik and rockets.  This one moment will forever change Sonny's life, which is evident because he eventually becomes a NASA engineer.


I've read plenty of works by Neil Gaiman ranging from Coraline to The Sandman graphic novels.  When I told June that I hadn't bought any new books recently she lent me her copy of Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman.  In the past we have talked about our love for Neil Gaiman (honestly we've completely geeked out over him, because he's amazing in everything he does) so it was natural for her to suggest this read.  Neverwhere is one of Neil Gaiman's first novels, and it was actually built upon his script for the BBC miniseries of the same name. 

The novel begins with Richard Mayhew being mistaken for a homeless man in London.  His night only goes down hill from there.  On the way to dinner with his fiancee Jessica he sees a woman face down on the pavement and notices that she is bleeding and hurt when calling a hospital is mentioned the women perks up and begs them to not call the hospital because "they'll find me".  The decision to help Doreen (also known as Door) catalysts a chain of events that Richard could never have imagined.  Richard soon realizes that the London he knows is not the only London, and "London Below" will change his perspective and life. 

I try my hardest to not spoil anything, but if you like other works by Neil Gaiman you'll probably love Neverwhere.  Did anyone watch the original miniseries?  I feel like since I've read the book I should watch that now! 


You can find us on Goodreads, June and Amelia.

What are you currently reading?  Have any recommendations?  
Have you read any of these books, what did you think?

32 comments:

  1. I love Neil Gaiman and Neverwhere. I've read it and seen the show; at the moment I'm listening to the dramatisation with James McAvoy, Natalie Dormer and Benedict Cumberbatch!

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  2. Thanks for the recommendations girls! I've been looking for a new book to read :).


    Tamara
    www.trulytamara

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  3. I'm actually rereading Neverwhere right now. It's such a fun book. I actually saw Neil Gaiman at the big public library here in Chicago a few years back when we came to talk about Neverwhere. It was part of a big summer reading program, and he was fantastically funny and charming. He said that he was partly inspired by Chicago and our underground walkway system when he was writing it, which I thought was really cool.
    And Ready Player One - what an awesome book. I'm one of those folks who is not a big pop culture nerd, at least not 80s pop culture, but as you said, you don't have to be to get into it. It's really well written and well characterized, and I love the feeling that I got that I was growing up with Wade. It was so well paced, too. You get plenty of time to get to know and love all the characters, but when the action hits, it really hits. I was ripping through the last chapters.

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  4. All of these books sound great (especially "Ready Player One")! I'm currently reading "A Walk in the Woods" by Bill Bryson. We had to choose a memoir off a given list for school and seeing as I absolutely ADORE hiking (italicized and bolded!), that one seemed the most interesting. It might be an odd choice for most and I haven't read it through yet but it seems like a really good one so far. I also just finished "The Giver" by Lowis Lowry. I didn't read it in school as a kid but WOW it's fantastic! I highly recommend it especially since the movie is coming out soon! Hope you're both doing well!

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  5. I worked on The Rook (for it's Australian publication). How great is it?!! Also, I know they're bringing out the second one soon, so you'll have to keep your eye out.

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  6. I am ridiculously excited for the sequel to The Rook, probably to a degree that really highlights my inherent dorkiness. I think I need to read Ready Player One...

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  7. Thanks for the recommendations! Can always use some new reads to add the the library (which is ever growing).

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  8. The Rook sounds interesting, I'll add that to the growing list of books I need to read lol. Just finished reading The Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor and already can't wait to purchase the sequel and started on Eternal by Cynthia Leitich Smith

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  9. Melanie HuddlestonAugust 23, 2014 at 5:27 PM

    The mini series isn't bad! But of coarse the book is better!! I just recently read The Ocean at the End of the Lane!! It was amazing!! Also The Graveyard Book is fabulous!!

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  10. I absolutely LOVE Neil Gaiman. He is my spirit animal. Definitely one of my favorite writers. I've listened to that and I absolutely loved it! How did you like it?!

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  11. You're very welcome, we hope you picked one of them up! <3

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  12. Did you finish Neverwhere?! Neil Gaiman is my absolutely FAVORITE and I would have a freaking heart attack if I ever met him so I'm INCREDIBLY jealous. I love that he narrates so many of his own audiobooks!


    I agree, everything was so well thought out and I felt the exact same way about growing up with Wade too. Listening to the book was a totally different experience and I had a lot of fun with that too! I was so surprised that you know who was a girl! I was actually surprised a few times by the book... talking about it is making me want to re-read it... AGAIN!

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  13. Really?! I absolutely LOVED it! I heard the second one was coming and was SO excited because I didn't know it was going to be a series! So freaking excited!

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  14. I absolutely LOVE The Giver and have been thinking about re-reading it lately so I can 1) see the movie and 2) continue the series because I think there are about 4 or 5 of them!


    Did you finish "A Walk In the Woods" yet? How was it?

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  15. Have you made it to starting any of them yet? What are you currently reading? I always love hearing what people are reading!

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  16. It's really, really good! I've been recommending it to EVERYONE. haha. I'm going to look up both of these! Di you like one of them better than the other?

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  17. The Ocean at the End of the Lane is my favorite Neil Gaiman book! It's just so... magical! I love the Graveyard Book as well though! Do you read a lot of Neil Gaiman? I love how the Hempstock family is always appearing.

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  18. You are seriously the best for recommending The Rook to us! I can't wait for the sequel either not! You would probably LOVE Ready Player One! Any new recommendations?

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  19. Yeah, it was definitely one of my in-house publishing career highlights to be there when that book came through. Seriously, there wasn't one person who didn't love it! Now I'm just freelancing so I don't get as many pre-release sneak peeks, so I'm pretty excited for the second one to come out.

    Also, if you liked this, you should check out 'The Shining Girls' by Lauren Beukes. I'm just about to pick up a copy of her newest book, but I couldn't recommend Shining Girls more. It's like the Time Traveller's Wife crossed with Silence of the Lambs.

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  20. Melanie HuddlestonAugust 24, 2014 at 10:31 PM

    Daughter of smoke and bone is awesome!! It's a trilogy!!

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  21. Melanie HuddlestonAugust 24, 2014 at 10:36 PM

    I love Neil Gaiman!! I've read Stardust, Coraline, Neverwhere, and Good Omens to name a few! If you haven't already, check out Good Omens co author Terry Pratcett!! The Disc World Series is amazing!! Also I love what you wrote about The Night Circus! I didn't know what to read next, because nothing would be as enchanting!

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  22. The Giver is a series?! I didn't know this! I definitely sense a weekend bookstore splurge haha


    Unfortunately, I haven't finished it, but I'm about halfway and I'd probably give it a 7.5-8/10. Not a favorite, but I'd recommend it to people who want it a "reference guide" to hiking.

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  23. I just finished The Rook on your recommendation, AND GOOD LORD WAS IT AMAZING. I really like the whole sci-fi/fantasy genre, but weeding through the sea of medieval dragon slaying heroes with rippling muscles (although these can sometimes be good too) can sometimes be exhausting. Its really to good to find a genuinely unique and well rounded story like this one, so thank you!!!!

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  24. Yes! It's a quartet! Were you able to pick it up?

    Hmm yeah I see what you mean, once I'm willing to put a book down and I don't feel motivated to pick it up again... that says something haha

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  25. Oh, I can believe that! We get so many recommendations in these posts for books to read but this was hands down my absolute favorite. I'm counting down the days for the second one as well.


    OH MY GOD! That sounds amazing! I just finished The Magicians by Lev Grossman (it was ABSOLUTELY AWESOME) and now I'm working on the sequel, Magician King, which is pretty good too, but not as good as book one.

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  26. Oh! I'll definitely be looking it up then!

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  27. I've read all those and I read about half of Good Omens and just couldn't get into it and I don't know why! I need to try a re-read.

    And oh! Well thank you, I seriously couldn't have meant it more, I'm still searching. I LOVE books with a little sideshow or circus mixed in (except Water for Elephants, no thank you). The Night Circus is hands down but I also loved Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children and Big Fish. I attempted reading Mr. Sebastian and the Negro Magician after The Night Circus because it had that magic aspect and I didn't like it AT ALL.

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  28. OH!!!!! I'm seriously so happy to hear that you loved it! xoxo I know exactly what you mean! I'm going to include this in an upcoming post but if you're looking for another amazing fantasy/sci-fi read I just finished The Magicians by Lev Grossman and loved it so much I already ran out to purchase the sequel. Any book that reminds me, right off the bat, of Harry Potter mixed with Narnia.... is a winner.

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  29. Well, just spontaneously bought Ready Player One! Very excited to read it!

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  30. OH! Have you started it yet?! How do you like it?

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  31. Yes! I'm loving it so far! It's such an interesting plot; I've never read anything like this before. I really like the writing style, the vocabulary is great and doesn't feel like I'm reading a book geared towards readers too much younger than myself. I haven't read in a long time and so far this seems like a fantastic book to get back into reading!

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  32. I loved it!!! It was the kind of book that really sucked you into its world. It weird because I finished it and kind of miss reading it haha!

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