About The Backpack Reader

Rachel is a 20-something reader, writer, backpacker, and travel junky. She has visited 22 countries and lived in four (China, Germany, Australia, and the US). Books and the stories they have to tell have been a part of her identity since before she knew how to read. She blames the adventure stories she grew up with as catalysts for her adventure-seeking ways in adulthood. She currently lives in Michigan where she is always searching for her next adventure. In her spare time Rachel reads (a lot), writes, bikes, hikes, talks, and listens to other people’s life stories. Her favorite genres include fantasy, YA, historical fiction (particularly WWI and II), and 19th century British novel. Some of her favorite books include Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith, and the Seventh Tower series by Garth Nix. More recent favorites: The Shades of Magic trilogy by VE Schwab, The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo, Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys, and The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah.

Top 5 Wednesday: Non-Western Inspired Fantasy Books

This week’s topic is books that were inspired by non-western locations, or else set in a non-western location. I decided to narrow it down to Fantasy books inspired by non-western settings as those are pretty few and far between (in English at least). But first, I have a number of thoughts on this topic.

Have you ever wondered why English literature is dominated by western thought? The answer is simple. Because English is a language of the west. So it really isn’t surprising, nor, I think, necessarily a negative thing. However, because the US is a melting pot of cultures and with how our world has expanded into a global community rather than just a national one, it is important to learn about cultures beyond what we know in the west. So, I am happy that authors of non-Western background have been gaining recognition in recent years. Continue reading

Top 5 Wednesday: Children’s Books

TOP 5 WEDNESDAY

There were SO many books I adored as a kid. My reading game was never higher than when I was aged 9-12, because back then I actually had the time to read and it was really only school that got in my way. But here are the top five children’s series/books that come to mind. I tried to stick to books that I don’t see often on these lists. Continue reading

Monthly Recap – June

monthly recap

june

Books Read: 4
Genres Read: Historical romance, magical realism, mystery/action/horror/sci-fi/fantasy, modern drama

This was a much slower month for me reading-wise as I started a new full time job a few weeks ago and have had less time in general to read. But I did still manage to get through four books, a few less than my usual 6-7. Continue reading

Top 5 Wednesday: Hate to Love Ships

Okay, who doesn’t love a good hate to love romance? I mean, the tension, the will they/won’t they can drive me through a book like nothing else. A truly good “hate to love” romance is not actually “hate to love.” It’s more of a passionate frustration, often driven by misunderstanding, between parties who are mutually stimulated/attracted (often intellectually) by the other. There’s just something so fun about this trope, and so satisfying, that it has been played upon again and again throughout the history of literature. “Hate to love” romances done well can truly explore a character’s growth and change, and I think that is why we can’t help but love this trope. Without further ado, here are my top 5 Hate to Love ships in books.


Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

82ebcf8435a2d403014064eee495d8f21

Okay, yes, I did start with Jane Austen again, but Darcy and Elizabeth’s relationship is literally the best example of “hate to love” because it pioneered the trope. Almost everything that follows in literature is directly derived from Austen’s novel. Her satirical tone, her ease with language, not to mention the near perfect symmetrical structure of the novel single Austen out as a master of her craft. She truly understood her society as well as human nature in a way that makes her works so accessible today. Continue reading

All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater

allthecrookedsaints_cover

All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater
Genre: Magical realism
Rating: 4 stars.

I don’t quite know how to express my unexpected delight for this book. The prose was gorgeous, but also snarky in surprising ways, the characters were intensely complex and the growth they experienced compelling, and the way Stiefvater wove fantasy and reality together was incredibly seamless.

I also don’t quite know how to summarize this book. It is the story of the Soria family, but also of Pete and Tony and the other pilgrims who come to the Soria’s ranch in rural Colorado in search of a miracle. Ultimately, I think All the Crooked Saints is a story of facing the lies we believe about ourselves, driving them out, and replacing them with truth. Continue reading

Jane, Unlimited by Kristen Cashore

9780803741492_JaneUnlimited_BOM.indd

Jane, Unlimited by Kristen Cashore
Genre: Mystery/Action/Horror/Sci-fi/Fantasy
3.5 stars.

Well, my first ARC from Book Con was a trip and a half and I totally wasn’t expecting it.

When Jane, who recently lost her Aunt Magnolia, is invited to the lavish island mansion of Tu Reviens, she finds herself swept into a world of mystery where everyone has a secret. When Jane is faced with five separate choices, the story splits into five, each detailing increasingly bizarre outcomes as Jane discovers the secrets hidden within the house. Continue reading

Book Con 2017 Book Haul/TBR

Wow. I spent this past weekend at Book Con in NYC and as a first timer I was completely overwhelmed. But it was also SO MUCH FUN. I wasn’t expecting the sheer amount of people, of insanity, of waiting in line, or the plethora of FREE ARC’s I was privy too. Not only that, but the connections you make with other readers, with other aspiring authors, and, as a blogger, with publicists was beyond my wildest dreams. I drove down to NYC from Michigan with Sierra of Quest Reviews and Laura of Laura Luna Books and we had an absolute blast finding other people like us. So, there will be a more comprehensive post on Book Con sometime in the next week, but for now I wanted to focus on the incredible haul I acquired in the two days of Book Con.

 

books Continue reading