Monday, December 11, 2017

Book Review: Now I Rise

TITLE: Now I Rise
Book 2 in the Conqueror's Saga series
AUTHOR: Kiersten White
CATEGORY: YA
PUBLISHED: June 27th, 2017
GENRE: Historical Fiction
PREMISE: Lada continues her quest for her homeland while Radu deals with a mission he was given...
MY REVIEW: And I Darken was a favorite of mine from last year and I have been looking forward to this sequel for some time. I am happy to say it did not disappoint. Normally, I am not a fan of dual perspectives. It's usually a gimmick and not necessary and frankly a lot of authors don't use the technique well. This is one of the few times, it is actually used well.
Lada and Radu are so different that I have no issue figuring out who's speaking (this is usually a big issue with dual perspective). I love these characters. They are complicated and messy and are just so interesting. Thanks to the dual perspective, we get two sides of the war the characters are in and it's so well done. I admit, I don't know much about the history that White is talking about here, but she explains it so well that I got the gist.
To sum it up: I loved this book. It's definitely one of the top books of the year for me. If you loved And I Darken, you'll love this. I cannot wait to read the next book. I am also fearful, because I have a feeling it's going to be a tissue box kind of book (especially if White sticks to history. I don't know much about this time period, but I do know Vlad dies).
WHO SHOULD READ: And I Darken fans, Game of Thrones fans, historical fiction fans
MY RATING: Four and a half out of Five fangirl squees

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Book Review: Divided We Stand

TITLE: Divided We Stand-The Battle Over Women's Rights and Family Values That Polarized American Politics
AUTHOR: Marjorie J. Spruill
CATEGORY: Non-Fiction
PUBLISHED: February 28th, 2017
GENRE: History, Politics
PREMISE: A non-fiction book delving into the 1977 National Women's Conference and how what happened there was a glimpse of future politics to come...
MY REVIEW: I have so many mixed feelings about this book. I do think it's an important thing to read and many people today could stand to read it. But I have issues with the way the author went about presenting the information because it's clear from the way she presented it, that she is biased and wanted you to feel a certain way about things. I HATE when non-fiction history authors do this. If there's something that doesn't have a lot of info and you do have to guess, then okay I get that. But stuff like this? No, just give us the information and let us come to our own conclusions, please.
Namely, she seemed to want you to sympathize with conservative women and admire Phyllis Schlafly. About eighty percent of this book is spent presenting Schlafly and her group as some amazing united force. Meanwhile, she presents the feminists as an unprepared group that spends too much time in-fighting and whatnot. I thought this was weird and then I went and looked up the writer. She's from the south. And most of the books she's written has to do with southern white women and their great deeds. Which, explains a lot.
Look, feminists are not perfect. I am the first to tell you that. But seriously don't sit there and tell me that Shclafly and her group was better. They did everything they could to undermine progress for women simply because they felt they knew what was best for every woman. That is not something to be admired. And I don't think it's very surprising or admirable they were able to organize very well. They all just had one goal. It's easy to agree and get everyone on board when you have one goal. Feminists, have more then one goal, and everyone wants their goal to be at the fore front and focus on that. So of course, we're not all going to agree on everything. Also, I would like to point out, Shclafly's group is also responsible for a lot the negative and frankly untrue stereotypes you hear about feminists today, such as that lie about how feminism is about hating men.
But one thing this book does do well, is it explained the switch of the political parties that took place during the seventies. It does draw very good links between politics now and politics back then. I just...am not pleased with how biased the author clearly was and how she tried to get you to sympathize with people who were actively trying to take away women's rights.
WHO SHOULD READ: Feminists, those interested in political history
MY RATING: Three out of Five flawed takes on history

Friday, December 8, 2017

Book Review: I Believe in a Thing Called Love

TITLE: I Believe in a Thing Called Love
AUTHOR: Maurene Goo
PUBLISHED: May 30th, 2017
CATEGORY: YA
GENRE: Contemporary, Romance
PREMISE: A girl hatches a plan to get a boyfriend by following the plots of Korean Dramas...
MY REVIEW: As I was reading this, I was reminded a lot of When Dimple Met Rishi. So if you were a fan of that book, I suggest trying this one out. It's got that same cutesy romance vibe that that book had.
Ultimately I liked this one. It's just nothing to really write home about. The writing is decent, the characters are decent, the romance is cute, everything is just...okay for me. It's not something that blew me away or anything. But it did satisfy my need for a cute light-hearted romance.
If you're in the mood for something light-hearted and fluffy, this book should do the trick. Though I will warn: it will make you want to go and have a K-Drama marathon. Which I highly recommend,  because K-Dramas are the best. The author gives a great list of them at the back of the book if you want to know where to start.
WHO SHOULD READ: K-Drama fans, those looking for cute romances to read
MY RATING: Three and a half out of five cute romances

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Graphic Novel Review: Wires and Nerves, Vol. 1

TITLE: Wires and Nerves
Wires and Nerves series, vol. 1
AUTHOR: Marissa Meyer
ARTIST: Douglas Holgate
PUBLISHED: January 31rst, 2017
GENRE: Science-Fiction/Retelling
PREMISE: Marissa Meyer continues the world of Lunar Chronicles in a new graphic novel series
MY REVIEW: Okay, full disclosure: despite loving comics and loving books...I tend to avoid these graphic novels based on book things. First off: they're usually just adaptations of the book and I don't find it necessary to read books in graphic novel form. Secondly: the art is usually pretty ugly.
But lets face it: I'm Lunar Chronicles trash. If it's Lunar Chronicles, I'm there. It helps that this series actually picks up where the books left off so it's actually new material. I'm still not much of a fan of the art style....but it is what it is, I've made my peace with it.
All in all, as far as these graphic novels based on books thing goes...this one is not bad. Iko is delightful and we get to see all the favorite characters again and catch up with what's going on in their lives. We also get a nice look into what the results of the end of the last book were and I'm pleased that the author makes it clear that just because you overthrow a villain, doesn't magically mean every world problem is solved.
So I liked it. I wish the art was better. But what can you do? If you're looking for more Lunar Chronicles goodness, this should do the trick for you. For those wondering, Vol. 2 comes out in January.
WHO SHOULD READ: Those who have read the entire Lunar Chronicles series, Lunar Chronicles fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five sassy androids

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Book Review: Amberlough

TITLE: Amberlough
Book 1 in The Amberlough Dossier series
AUTHOR: Lara Elena Donnelly
PUBLISHED: February 7th, 2017
CATEGORY: Adult
GENRE: Fantasy
PREMISE: A group of people survive as best they can in a war-torn country...
MY REVIEW: This book has been on my radar for a bit and now that I've read it, I'm really sad it's not more popular then it has been, because it was pretty damn good and sadly very relevant considering current events.
The basic gist is that this is part Caberet/Casablanca set in a fantasy world with two countries constantly at war with each other. A majority of it is politics so if that's not your thing, you'll probably not be terribly interested. But I love stuff like this, so this book was right up my alley.
In short, I loved this one. The writing is good, characters are fascinating, and though it does drag here and there, ultimately the pay-off at the end is worth it. It also looks like this is now going to be a series and I for one am thrilled about that.
WHO SHOULD READ: fantasy fans, Caberet/Casablanca fans, those that like political fantasy type of books
MY RATING: Four out of Five sassy spies

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Book Review: Jane, Unlimited

TITLE: Jane, Unlimited
AUTHOR: Kristin Cashore
PUBLISHED: September 19th, 2017
CATEGORY: YA
GENRE: Fantasyish...
PREMISE: A girl gets invited to her friend's mansion and presented with choices...
MY REVIEW: This book is very much a quirky book. So I will point out: it won't be for everyone. That's probably why its gotten so many mixed reviews on Goodreads. It doesn't follow the typical plot of a book. Instead, Cashore modeled this after old-school choose your own adventure books. One adventure goes into a mystery, another a spy thriller, then there's a fantasy type one, and so on.
I found this one very interesting to read, and ultimately I liked it. But I imagine some people won't like the quirky way it's written, the quirky meta sense of humor, etc. But again....I did like it. So I think this will just ultimately come down to a matter of personal taste.
I definitely give Cashore props, because this was one of the more interesting YA books I read this year. I am all for authors taking more risks and playing around with different ways of telling a story. Cashore definitely did that here. It worked well for me. But again, this is one of those books that I think will not appeal to everyone, so I suggest checking it out of the library first, to see if it's for you.
WHO SHOULD READ: Kristin Cashore fans, gothic mystery fans, fans of the old choose-your-own-adventure books
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five quirky books

Monday, December 4, 2017

Book Review: Down Among the Sticks and Bones

TITLE: Down Among the Sticks and Bones
Book 2 in the Wayward Children series
AUTHOR: Seanan McGuire
PUBLISHED: June 13th, 2017
CATEGORY: Adult
GENRE: Fantasy
PREMISE: In a companion to Every Heart a Doorway, we get to learn about the twins' past.
MY REVIEW: Every Heart a Doorway was a favorite of mine last year, so I've been looking forward to the sequel since I heard about it. I'm happy to say, it did not disappoint. It's more of a companion then a sequel. This one goes into the sisters Jack and Jill and their story. We got hints of it in the first book, but this one gives us full details and it's great.
As with Every Heart a Doorway, my one complaint about this series is that the books are too short. I'm selfish and want longer books. But I am impressed with how tightly McGuire weaves the story and it never actually feels rushed, despite it being under two hundred pages.
If you were like me, you'll no doubt love this second book. It looks like we're getting a third book in January, that promises to be a direct sequel to Every Heart a Doorway and I cannot wait.
WHO SHOULD READ: Those that have read Every Heart a Doorway, Seanan McGuire fans, vampire fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five creepy fantasy worlds

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Book Review: They Both Die At the End

TITLE: They Both Die At the End
AUTHOR: Adam Silvera
CATEGORY: Young Adult
PUBLISHED: September 5th, 2017
GENRE: Dystopianish, Romance
PREMISE: In a world where you get called a day before you die, Mateo and Rufus both receive calls and meet on an app designed give comfort to those about to die.
MY REVIEW: I'm a little late to the Adam Silvera bandwagon. I just read History is All You Left Me earlier this year and it was a favorite, now I have another favorite. So expect a review of More Happy Than Not in the future. If you are familiar with Silvera, you probably already know: this one will make you cry.
Surprisingly, this one reminded me a bit of The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon. It has that people meeting randomly thing, you knowing ahead of time it's going to end sadly but wanting them together anyway, them getting together beautifully and then you being sad when the sad ending comes. It's all very seize the dayish and great characters and yeah, I liked this one a lot. Sad as it was (and it is so sad guys. The title is not a lie).
So Silvera gets me again with another great book. Looks like we're getting another one from him next year (that he co-wrote with Becky Albertalli!!!!!!) and apparently a fantasy book of some sort is in the works (here for that). I am officially on the Silvera train. Sign me up for all his books in the future.
WHO SHOULD READ: Adam Silvera fans, The Sun is Also a Star fans, those who like books that rip your heart out
MY RATING: Four out of Five tissue warnings

Monday, November 27, 2017

Book Review: Sex Object

TITLE: Sex Object, A Memoir
AUTHOR: Jessica Valenti
PUBLISHED: June, 2016
CATEGORY: Non-Fiction
GENRE: Essays, Feminism
PREMISE: A collection of essays from columnist Jessica Valenti that center around the ways in which sex has effected her and other women.
MY REVIEW: Jessica Valenti has been around for quite awhile, but I confess...I've never read her books. I've been meaning too, it just never happened until now. After reading this one, I'll definitely be looking into her other books.
For those trying to wrap your minds around Weinstein, Moore, Franken etc. I definitely recommend picking this one up if you are wondering how exactly we got here. There is a lot of stuff in here that is pretty timely and some of these essays were written quite a few years ago. Oh and FYI, women have actually been calling out sexual harassment stuff for quite awhile now. Stop acting like the news that there's a rape culture out there is somehow brand new information. We've been telling you about it for years now. You're just now finally forced to acknowledge it because the media finally decided to pay attention to it.
I should get back to the book...anyway, there are a lot of great essays in this one. The most notable ones for me are the essays titled Subways and Grilled Cheese. If you want to really get angry at people, Valenti ends the book with some of the comments she's received online from people about the essays. All I can say is...wow.
WHO SHOULD READ: Feminists, those reading up on rape culture
MY RATING: Four out of Five thought provoking essays

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Book Review: At the Edge of the Universe

TITLE: At the Edge of the Universe
AUTHOR: Shaun Hutchinson
PUBLISHED: February 7th, 2017
CATEGORY: YA
GENRE: Science-Fictionish, Contemporary
PREMISE: Tommy remembers Ozzie, his boyfriend. Everyone else...does not.
MY REVIEW: I read We Are the Ants last year and promptly fell in love with it. It was one of those books I picked up on a whim, not expecting much, and it just sort crept up on me and suddenly it was a favorite. This is the second book by Hutchinson that I've read and I think its cemented him as a favorite author for me.
This kind of has the same idea as We Are the Ants: there's a possible major world catastrophe going on in the background as a guy goes through life trying to figure things out. You don't know if it's in his head or actually real and honestly....don't get many answers in the end, so for that....it's a tad frustrating. But character wise...this book packs as much of a punch as We Are the Ants.
If you're not into sci-fi, don't let that element of the book turn you off of this. It plays very little into the story. A majority of this story is character development and typical contemporary drama stuff. It is very much of a slow burn of a book, but the pay off at the end is worth it.
WHO SHOULD READ: fans of We Are the Ants, Magical Realism fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five disappearing universes