Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Book Review: Rest in Power

TITLE: Rest in Power-The Enduring Life of Trayvon Martin
AUTHOR: Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin
PUBLISHED: January 31, 2017
CATEGORY: Non-Fiction
GENRE: Biography/Memoir
PREMISE: The parents of Trayvon Martin talk about his life and the events that occurred after he was murdered.
MY REVIEW: Despite the title, this is not strictly about Trayvon Martin's life. There are a few chapters in the beginning where his parents go into what he was like (and I can't help but notice the stark contrast between what he was like and what the media tried to paint him as). A majority of this book goes into the Zimmerman trial, the media attention and what the parents experienced after his death and it is frankly heartbreaking to read.
There was one thing that became very clear to me after reading this: Zimmerman was always going to walk free. Everything from the way the parents were questioned about Martin instead of him, to how the trial was handled, to the frankly racist media coverage of it that kept trying to paint Martin as a thug...yeah, Zimmerman was never getting charged. I wish I could be mind-boggled at that, but considering all the things that have happened since then, from Ferguson to just recently in St. Louis, I'm not (full disclosure, I live in the area and I'm sorry but it is no accident Missouri keeps having all these problems: there is massive racism out here).
This is a very powerful and honestly, very sad book. If you want a deep dive into stuff the media did not tell you about the Trayvon Martin case, I highly recommend reading this.
WHO SHOULD READ: those that want more details about the Trayvon Martin case then what the media told them
MY RATING: Four out of Five powerful books

Monday, September 25, 2017

Book Review: The Ship Beyond Time

TITLE: The Ship Beyond Time
Book 2 in the Girl From Everywhere series
AUTHOR: Heidi Heilig
PUBLISHED: February 28th, 2017
CATEGORY: YA
GENRE: Fantasy/Time-Travel
PREMISE: Nix and her crew continue their adventures on their time-traveling ship.
MY REVIEW: The Girl From Everywhere was a vastly underrated book from last year. It had a time travel ship, pirates, adventure, an awesome female character, interesting family dynamics...all the things. I personally was very happy with it.
I'm just as happy with the sequel. It jumps right into things and figures the readers are smart enough to remember what happened last time. It ties up a lot of plots nicely and there's lots of things going on in this book as there was last time.
All in all, this was a solid sequel. It looks like Heilig has something new coming out next year in the fall and a contribution to an interesting looking anthology so I'm happy that it looks like she's here to stay.
WHO SHOULD READ: those that have read The Girl From Everywhere, Doctor Who fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five time travel ships

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Notable Releases: 9/17-9/23

Here are some notable releases on my radar from this past week:

MG/YA

Three Dark Crowns Book 2: One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake

Three Dark Crowns was a favorite of mine from last year. Can't wait to see how it all goes down.

Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore

FINALLY, a new Cashore book! Some of you may recall, I am a huge fan of the Graceling trilogy.







Kingdom on Fire Book 2: A Poison Dark and Drowning by Jessica Cluess

A Shadow Dark and Burning was a pleasant surprise from last year. I look forward to its sequel.






Speak Easy, Speak Love by McKelle George

A debut that promises a contemporary retelling of Much Ado About Nothing. Hopefully it is minus all the gross sexism/slut shaming that was in that play.

Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu

About a girl who starts a feminist-like magazine at her school and starts a revolution. I personally, can't wait to read this.







Non-Fiction

Paperbacks From Hell: A History of Horror Fiction From the 70s and 80s by Grady Hendrix

Pretty much what it sounds like: a loving look into all those pulpy horror books with cheesy covers from the 70s/80s. I'm here for stuff like this.






Thanks, Obama: My Hopey, Changey White House Years by David Litt

One of Obama's speechwriters writes hilariously about his time in the White House.

The Origin of Others by Toni Morrison

Essay collection from Toni Morrison? Yes, please.








Reset: My Fight for Inclusion and Lasting Change by Ellen Pao

For those who don't know, Pao is the one who sued a Silicon Valley firm for discrimination. The suit revealed a lot of toxic things that happen in Silicon Valley. This book goes into that and what companies can do to make the work environment less toxic.





Comics/Manga

Captain America Secret Empire TP
Power Man and Iron Fist Vol. 3: Street Magic TP
Moon Knight Vol. 3: Birth and Death TP
Case Closed Vol. 64

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Book Review: Winter of the Gods

TITLE: Winter of the Gods
Book 2 of The Immortals series
AUTHOR: Jordanna Max Brodsky
CATEGORY: Adult
PUBLISHED: February 14th, 2017
GENRE: Urban Fantasy/Mystery
PREMISE: Selena aka the goddess Artemis and Theo look into a murder that may be the work of a cult trying to murder the gods...
MY REVIEW: The Immortals was a hidden gem from last year that I still feel should have been way more popular then it was. Think adult Percy Jackson series from the gods POV with murder mystery thrown in.
This series deftly continues from the last book. We get more of the gods, more character development for everyone involved last time and a great lead in for the next book. I love that the author doesn't make everything easy for Selena and Theo they actually have to work at their relationship. It doesn't ignore that this is a goddess and a mortal in a relationship.
There's just so much in this series that I love. It's part mythology, part mystery, and has an awesome female character at the center of its plot. I can't wait to read more.
WHO SHOULD READ: Adult Percy Jackson fans, mystery fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five awesome PIs

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Book Review: The Dark Prophecy

TITLE: The Dark Prophecy
Book 2 in the Trials of Apollo series
AUTHOR: Rick Riordan
PUBLISHED: May 2nd, 2017
CATEGORY: YA/MG (it's sold as MG. I think the series is more YA)
GENRE: Fantasy
PREMISE: Apollo continues his adventures as a demi-god.
MY REVIEW: This one will be short. My opinion on this series doesn't really change much: I adore these books. They are utterly silly at times. But Riordan writes them in such a charming way I kind of don't care.
If you've read the first book in this series, you know what to expect. This is very much the same. Apollo continues to be a delight. I can't wait to read the next one as well as the next Asgard book.
WHO SHOULD READ: Rick Riordan fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five favorite series continuing to be favorites

Monday, September 18, 2017

Book Review: The Library of Fates

TITLE: The Library of Fates
AUTHOR: Aditi Khorana
CATEGORY: YA
PUBLISHED: July 18th, 2017
GENRE: Fantasy
PREMISE: Amrita's kingdom comes under seige and she uses a magical library to change the fate of her kingdom...
MY REVIEW: If I could rate this book on the author's imagination alone...it would get very high ratings. I love the world in this book. It's very imaginative and beautiful.
Unfortunately the plot and characters...don't really live up to the setting. The plot is a tad predictable. It's tied up nicely, but if you read a lot of YA fantasy...you can probably guess what's coming. Another issue is it's very rushed. There's no pause in plot and that leaves very little time spent for me to connect with characters or for there to be much character development at all. The result is an okay book...that I didn't particularly connect too.
It's not a bad book. It's just...not particularly fantastic either. This is just one of those books that's just kind of there. I recommend it to those looking for books that draw from Indian mythology. But...that's about it.
WHO SHOULD READ: Wrath and the Dawn fans, fantasy fans
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five shrugs

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Notable Releases: 9/10-9/16

Here are the notable releases from this past week that are on my radar:

MG/YA

The Grave Keepers by Elizabeth Byrne

I've seen no hype surrounding this debut and I'm not sure why. The story sounds cool. With ghosts, sister bonds, and everything.

Warcross Book 1 by Marie Lu

The buzz around this book has been HUGE. I for one can't wait to read it, Lu has become one of my favorite authors in recent years.







Fallen Isles Trilogy Book 1: Before She Ignites by Jodi Meadows

Meadows can be a bit hit or miss with me. I love her imagination, but her plots...can be a bit of a mess sometimes. Yes, I am aware of the protest going around this book about how white authors shouldn't be writing PoC and if she was using this book to write about what it's like to be black, I'd agree with the protest but it doesn't look like she is so...I'm reading and deciding after I read if I should be mad about this. Kind of wish more people would do the same.


Shadowshaper Book 2: Shadowhouse Fall by Daniel Jose Older

Finally, the sequel to Shadowshaper!







You Bring the Distant Near by Mitali Perkins

Interesting looking book that actually has already been nominated for a few YA book awards, so I'll be giving it a look.

Odd & True by Cat Winters

I'm always up for a Cat Winters book. Her stories are always so interesting.








Adult Fiction

Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke

I've been hearing Locke's name around the book world quite a bit lately. I think this thriller might be a good chance to check out the author's work.







Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Everyone and their mother has been raving about this book. I personally, still need to read the author's other one: Everything I Never Told You first.






Non-Fiction

What Happened by Hilary Rodham Clinton

I'm sure you are well aware this book is coming out. It's been all over the news with people whining or cheering about the book depending on if the person was a Clinton fan or not. I'll probably give the book a look...eventually. I suspect having to relive that election campaign again will probably just piss me off all over again and like with Insane Clown President make me depressed about the awful state of our country's politics.



Comics/Manga

Lady Mechanika Vol. 4 TP
Jonesy Vol. 3 TP
Green Lanterns Vol. 3: Polarity
Harley Quinn Vol. 3: Red Meat
Elektra Vol.1: Always Bet on Red
Guardians of the Galaxy New Guard Vol. 3: Civil War II

Friday, September 15, 2017

Book Review: The Underground Railroad

TITLE: The Underground Railroad
AUTHOR: Colson Whitehead
PUBLISHED: August 2016
CATEGORY: Adult
GENRE: Historical Fiction
PREMISE: Cora escapes her hellish life on a plantation along the underground railroad...
MY REVIEW: You very likely have already heard about this book. Chances are, you've already read it. Chances are, you already know if you want to read it or not. It's one of those books that has been everywhere, partly because the author apparently has been around awhile and because Oprah blessed the book by making it her book club pick last year.
Books that get this big can be very hit or miss for me. But luckily, this one turned out to be a hit. Once again I must point out: Oprah does get it right on her book picks sometimes. Not all the time (I wound up hating Love in the Time of Cholera) but a lot of the time. The writing in this book is phenomenal. The characters are fully fleshed out and if you don't wind up rooting for Cora by the end...I don't know what to say to you.
The historical research is top notch here, the story is powerful and memorable, the characters are great. Like, the only bad thing I can say about it is that it's a bit like Color Purple where all the constant hardship can sometimes feel draining. But also like Color Purple the character survives and becomes strong and it's just inspiring.
WHO SHOULD READ: Color Purple fans, Colson Whitehead fans, anyone inclined to read it
MY RATING: Four and a half out of Five harrowing journeys that are worth it

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Book Review: We Are Okay

TITLE: We Are Okay
AUTHOR: Nina LaCour
PUBLISHED: February 14th, 2017
CATEGORY: YA
GENRE: Contemporary
PREMISE: Marin's friend Mabel comes to visit, bringing with her memories Marin would rather forget....
MY REVIEW: So this is the first solo Nina LaCour book I've read. I've read books she's written with others, such as You Know Me Well (written with David Levithan) which I adored last year. So this year I decided I'm finally going to look into the books she writes on her own. I have to say, she might become a favorite author.
We Are Okay is a very short book. It's under 250 pages, I read it all in one sitting. LaCour's writing is solid, her characters are....well as developed as you can be in such a short book. She tackles tough issues and has solid plots. She manages to tug on heart strings quite a bit in those short pages.
As far as quality goes, this isn't ground-breaking stuff. How to handle grief has been a thing in YA for awhile. But it's handled well, I think this is a pretty good intro to a author whose books I'm definitely going to be reading more of in the future.
WHO SHOULD READ: Nina LaCour fans, contemporary fiction fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five solid books

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Book Review: The Meaning of Michelle

TITLE: The Meaning of Michelle-16 Writers on the Iconic First Lady and How Her Journey Inspires Our Own
AUTHOR: various, edited by Veronica Chambers
CATEGORY: Non-Fiction
PUBLISHED: January 10th, 2017
GENRE: Essays, Social Commentary
PREMISE: A variety of authors write about Michelle Obama and her impact on them and society.
MY REVIEW:I don't really have much to say about this one to be honest. I thought I would, but I don't. It's basically what it sounds like: a Michelle Obama lovefest. Luckily I adore Michelle Obama, so I don't mind this. If you aren't a Michelle Obama fan...you'll likely hate it.
As much as I enjoyed it, I'm not entirely sure why this needed to be a book. A series of articles on a website would have just done the trick. But hey, if the Reagans and Clintons and all of them get a bunch of books about them, why not the Obaamas?
This is a very niche sort of book. Only certain people will seek it out. If you are a Michelle Obama fan, this will be your jam. If you aren't...move along.
WHO SHOULD READ: Die-hard Michelle Obama fans
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five shrugs.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Your Syllabus for: Dystopians

Trying to get back in the swing of doing these again. This week, I'm tackling dystopians. Dystopian can cover a wide range of ideas. I'm sticking to future (in our world) type of settings. So like steampunks that are sort of dystopians or alternate histories such as The Great Library series by Rachel Caine will not be on here (but seriously go read that series, it's awesome). I also won't be including those dystopians that tend to crossover into more sci--fi/fantasy territory such as Endor's Game. Mostly because I'll probably have a syllabus set up for those specific kind of books in the future. I'll be covering classics, YA, and adult dystopians.

First up: Dystopian classics. As I've mentioned, I consider classics to be anything published before 1985. If your book is over 30 years old, still talked about today and still relevant...I consider you a classic. So this covers quite a few books.

We by Yevgeny Zamyatin (1924)

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (1932)

1984 by George Orwell (1949)

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (1953)

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess (1962)

Blade Runner 1: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K. Dick (1968)

The Handmaid's Tale by Margeret Atwood (1985)

YA/MG Dystopian (note, I'm not including all YA dystopians. Not all YA dystopians are created equal and frankly this list would get out of control if I did that). Stuff like Shatter Me or Gone where people get powers or whatnot are not going to be included here. That's more into sci-fi/fantasy territory in my opinion.

The Giver series by Lois Lowry (1993)

Feed by M. T. Anderson (2002)

How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff (2004)

Uglies series by Scott Westerfield (2005)

Last Survivors series by Susan Beth Pfeffer (2006)

Unwind series by Neal Shusterman (2007)

The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins (2008)

Maze Runner Trilogy (probably more series now) by James Dashner (2009)

Ship Breaker series by Paolo Bacigalupi

Insiders series by Maria V. Snyder (2010)

Legend Trilogy by Marie Lu (2011)

Delirium Trilogy by Lauren Oliver (2011)

Divergent Trilogy by Veronica Roth (2011)

Dustlands Trilogy by Moira Young (2011)

All These Things I've Done trilogy by Gabrielle Zevin (2011)

Article 5 Trilogy by Kristen Simmons (2012)

Vivian Apple Duology by Katie Coyle (2013)

Adult Dystopian

The Children of Men by P. D. James (1992)

Earthseed series by Octavia Butler (1993)

MaddAddam Trilogy by Margeret Atwood (2003)

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro (2005)

The Road by Cormac McCarthy (2006)

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (2011)

The Circle by Dave Eggers (2013)

The Girl With All the Gifts by M. R. Carey (2014)

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (2014)

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Notable Releases: 9/3-9/9

Wow, September already. Lots of stuff coming this month. These lists are going to be long for September.

MG/YA

The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding by Alexandra Bracken

Bracken tries her hand at Middle-grade with this new series that I am completely here for.






Even the Darkest Stars Book 1 by Heather Fawcett

New series that looks like it could be cool. Fantasy has kind of let me down this year (at least in YA. So far the only YA fantasy book to blow me away this year has been Strange the Dreamer) so I'm hoping for good things.

Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart

Lockhart makes her return after the super popular We Were Liars (a book I have mixed feelings about tbh). I'll give it a look. I imagine others will as well.







They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

I discovered Silvera just earlier this year and I have to say, I've become a fan. I'm looking forward to this really interesting looking book.

The Glass Town Game by Catherynne M. Valente

Interesting looking middle-grade book from the author of the Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland series.

Feral Youth by various authors

Short story collection that is actually a bunch of interconnected stories told by various awesome YA authors. Sounds nice and spooky and perfect for fall.







Adult Fiction

Sutherland Sisters Book 1: Lady Eleanor's Seventh Suitor by Anna Bradley

New historical romance series. I...like the cover? And as I've established I find I like these new duke/rake/scoundrel whatever series. They're cheesy as hell and a good thing to read when I'm not sure what to move onto next.

Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward

I've been meaning to read Ward's stuff for forever now. I think I might finally take the plunge this year.







Non-Fiction

Cuz: The Life and Times of Michael A. by Danielle Allen

Memoir about a women discovering the secret life of her now dead cousin.








Tales of Two Americas: Stories of Inequality in a Divided Nation by various authors

Pretty much what it sounds like: essays by a lot of awesome writers about the problems in America.







Comics/Manga

Iron Fist Vol. 1: Trials of the Seven Masters

Friday, September 8, 2017

Book Review: More Than This

TITLE: More Than This
AUTHOR: Patrick Ness
PUBLISHED: 2013
CATEGORY: YA
GENRE: Science Fiction/Mystery
PREMISE: A boy wakes to find himself in a strange world...
MY REVIEW: This book....I'm not even sure how to go about describing this book. The best I can come up with is...a YA version of the Matrix...sort of. I'm reminded a lot of We Are the Ants by Shawn David Hutchinson (have I mentioned you should read that book? Because you should read that book). The premise is weird and difficult to explain, but the important thing about the book is not even really the premise, it's the character journey taking place within the premise. Wow. That got deep...
There is lots of character study within this book. It all wraps into the mystery of what exactly is going on and whatnot. I have a feeling this is one of those books that is not going to be for everyone. It's very slow. Things tend to get frustrating sometimes when you try to figure out what's going on. It's got that very Patrick Ness quality to it where it's weird and you're not sure what's happening but...you're enjoying the journey if that makes sense.
So this is one of those books that's hard to know if I recommend it. It is very quirky and I'm not sure if it'll be everyone's cup of tea. Luckily it was mine. Note to self: finish up the Chaos Walking Trilogy. I really do need to get on that and then I believe I will have read all of his books except for the one that is coming out soon (it was supposed to be out in May but apparently dates got mixed around and now it's in the fall...).
WHO SHOULD READ:  Patrick Ness fans, fans of We Are the Ants, those that like odd books
MY RATING: Four out of Five interesting ideas

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Book Review: The Sandcastle Empire

TITLE: The Sandcastle Empire
AUTHOR: Kayla Olson
PUBLISHED: June 6th, 2017
CATEGORY: YA
GENRE: Dystopian
PREMISE: A group of girls from different backgrounds escape their hellish prison to a mysterious island that is supposed to be a safe haven...
MY REVIEW: Oh this book...I have so many issues with this book I honestly don't know where to begin. I'm sad about it too, because if I could base my score on the author's writing style: four stars. The prose here are great. Unfortunately everything else from the plot, to the characters, to the pacing, and honestly just to what even the author was trying to say with this dystopian....needed a LOT of work.
This started out very promising. The first hundred or so pages are wild ride and we get to see four girls grouping together and being badass. Then it all just falls apart when the author brings in the world-building, brings in the main plot and just ugh. First she felt the need to do what I call the Disney Channel thing: have as many guys for as many girls and pair all of them up regardless of if there's actually any chemistry there (there isn't chemistry, FYI). The characters are all stock characters who are never go beyond their main purpose in the plot. Oh and diversity in this book is pretty much non-existent. Everyone is apparently straight in the future. There is one token Asian character who is treated like crap by the narrative.
But the real kicker for me is the dystopian set up. Essentially, this is a world where poor people decided to take over and throw all rich people into prison. That's right: it's a "stop being mean to rich people!" pearl-clutch.  The author basically tries to use this book as a cautionary tale to talk about privilege politics, but she very clearly has done no research on even what privilege is.
She seems to think privilege just refers to rich people. It doesn't. Everyone has some sort of privilege. I'm poor as dirt, but I still have privilege of some sort because I'm white. She also seems to do that thing that a lot of privileged people do, which is assume calling out privilege means we hate privileged people. WE DO NOT. I cannot emphasize this enough. No one hates you, okay? Seriously, get over yourselves. All people are doing when they point out your privilege, is saying you have an advantage over someone. Therefore, your experiences are more then a little skewed. So maybe stop trying to tell poor people that they're just being lazy or whatever and maybe just LISTEN to them when they tell you there's an issue with the system. I do not care if you grew up with a silver spoon in your mouth. I DO care if you use that silver spoon to deny that there are serious issues in the world right now.
This book....it just bugs me so much. It had so much potential, but the author wasted it with poor research and poor world-building/characters/pacing/and many other things. It was just a disappointment all over. It's a shame, because Olson again has great prose. She just needs to work on...pretty much everything else.
WHO SHOULD READ: Eh...those who don't mind bland and poorly thought out dystopians?
MY RATING: Two out of Five sad sighs

Monday, September 4, 2017

Book Review: A Conjuring of Light

TITLE: A Conjuring of Light
Book 3 in Shades of Magic Trilogy
AUTHOR: V. E. Schwab
PUBLISHED: February 21rst, 2017
CATEGORY: Adult
GENRE: Fantasy
PREMISE: Things come to a head in the final book of the Shades of Magic series.
MY REVIEW: As you all know, I'm a big Victoria Schwab fan. Or V. E. Schwab as she's known in the adult fiction section. This trilogy has been a fun ride from beginning to end.
I will say my one issue with this is...it kind of ended predictably. There wasn't really much in here that I wasn't expecting to happen. There were one or two surprises, dealing with side characters that I didn't expect. I also am really pleased with how the author handled the Kell/Lila romance at the end. It was a very realistic ending for their characters. No forced happy ending marriage plus babies.
But even though it was kind of a predictable ending, it was still a satisfying ending. I'm very pleased with it. It looks like we might be getting a new trilogy set in this world (no release date yet though, so will probably be awhile) and I have to say...I'm for it. She also has a few more books in YA coming so it looks like we'll be getting lots of Schwab in our future and that makes me very happy.
WHO SHOULD READ: those that have read the first two books, Victoria Schwab fans, fantasy fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five solid endings
RATING FOR TRILOGY: Four out of Five

Sunday, September 3, 2017

August Wrap-Up

Going to try a new idea here. A lot of people do monthly wrap-ups and I thought I'd try it out for these past few months. So here's a round-up of what I've read this month. You'll notice I don't do reviews of all of these. That's because some, such as with Dresden Files, are long series I plan on doing a series review of. Others I just don't have much to say about it so I don't feel compelled to review it:

Books:
Started in July, finished in August
The Star-Touched Queen Book 2: A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi
Strange The Dreamer Book 1 by Laini Taylor
Dresden Files 11: Turn Coat by Jim Butcher
The Girl From Everywhere Book 2: The Ship Beyond Time by Heidi Heilig

Started and finished in August
Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith
Saints and Misfits by S. K. Ali
Because You Love to Hate Me short story collection by various authors
Darker Shade of Magic Book 3: A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab
The Sandcastle Empire by Kayla Olsen
More Than This by Patrick Ness
The Meaning of Michelle essay collection by various authors
We Are Okay by Nina LaCour
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
Library of Fates by Aditi Khorana
Trials of Apollo Book 2: The Dark Prophecy by Rick Riordan
Olympus Bound 2: Winter of the Gods by Jordanna Max Brodsky
Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit
Rest in Power by Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin

Started in August but haven't finished:
Exit West by Mohsin Hamid
Dark Artifices Book 1: Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare
Freedom is a Constant Struggle by Angela Y. Davis
Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham
Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare

Plays/Novellas:
Parnassus on Wheels by Christopher Morley
Theban Plays Parts 2 and 3
Henry IV Part 1 and Part 2
Henry V

Graphic Novels:
Squirrel-Girl Volume 5: Like I"m the Only Squirrel in the World
Gotham Academy Second Semester Vol. 1
Moon-Girl Vol. 2: Cosmic Cuties
Hawkeye, Kate Bishop Vol. 1: Anchor Points

DNFs of the Month aka, books I had to ditch for various reasons:
Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez-This book isn't hard or anything like that. It's just really tedious. It also perpetuates rape culture myths and the Nice Guy narrative. No thanks.
Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza-I see what the author was going for, but there was so little time spent developing characters and the world that I realized that half way through the extremely rushed plot...I just didn't care.
The Cage Book 2: The Hunt by Megan Shepherd-Sequel started out meh and I realized a bit of the way through I didn't particularly care about the story anymore.

Before anyone calls me a liar, here's how I read so much:
1) a lot of these books are actually kind of short. We Are Okay for instance is less then 250 pages.
2) I read multiple books at a time (usually three) The minute I'm done with one, I pick up another. It adds up.
3)I do audiobooks. It's the best hack. Highly recommend, especially for getting classics out of the way.
4) Not to brag, but I read fast. It's always been a thing with me.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Notable Releases: 8/27-9/2

Here are this past week's notable releases. Kind of a quiet week compared to last week, but that's probably due to all the September releases. So many big books in September guys.

MG/YA

DC Icons Book 1: Wonder Woman-Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo

First in a new series about DC heroes as teenagers. As someone still riding on that Wonder Woman movie high, I can't wait to get my hands on this.






Magisterium Book 4: The Silver Mask by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

Yeah yeah, I know, Harry Potter rip-off, Clare is a horrible being blah blah blah. I don't care, I'm hooked on this series. I have no defense for it. I will say I've been seeing conflicting release dates for this. Everywhere I know has been saying it released this week, but for some reason Goodreads is saying it's October 10th. So...yeah ;shrugs;



Backfield Boys: A Football Mystery in Black and White by John Feinstein

A sports book tackling race that looks like it has the potential to be interesting. We'll see how it works out.

Word Book 1: All Rights Reserved by Gregory Scott Katsoulis

This sounds like it has the potential to be a very timely dystopian where you are literally charged for every word you say.






Mask of Shadows Book 1 by Linsey Miller

Fantasy series with a gender-fluid main character. The low rating on goodreads doesn't give me much hope, but I've read books that are actually pretty damn good that have low ratings on goodreads so...





Comics/Manga

Archie Vol. 4 TP (new series)
Aquaman Vol. 3: The Crown of Atlantis TP
Batman Vol. 3: I Am Bane TP
Deadpool VS The Punisher TP
Unstoppable Wasp Vol. 1: Unstoppable TP

Friday, September 1, 2017

Book Review: Saints and Misfits

TITLE: Saints and Misfits
AUTHOR: S. K. Ali
PUBLISHED: June 13th, 2017
CATEGORY: YA
GENRE: Realistic Fiction
PREMISE: A girl tries to figure herself out as her life gets more and more complicated.
MY REVIEW: This book billed itself as My So-Called Life with a Muslim teen and...I don't particularly think that's accurate. It's more along the lines of a more cheerful Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. It has a lot to say about rape culture and things like who we see ourselves as versus who others see us as etc.
I will say the writing here is very good. If I could rate this on the writing alone, it would get five stars. Ali delivers great dialogue, fully fleshed out characters, and there's a competent plot. This is very good debut. I just have some issues with some stuff here and there. For instance there's one scene where Janna's friend basically shames rape survivors who don't speak up about about their rapist. Just...don't do that people, okay? A lot of times rape survivors are not in position to speak up because the rapist is in a position of power or like in this case a beloved member of the community. If they speak up, harm will come to them in various forms. That's not even going into the amount of times people just straight up don't believe you if you say you were raped and will call you a liar (which spoiler, does happen to the main character). To the author's credit, she does have Janna call the friend out on how that wasn't okay, but the friend is quickly forgiven so...yeah. I'm really not okay with that scene.
Other then that big issue, I mostly liked this book. It's a solid read. As I mentioned, it reminds me a lot of Speak, but doesn't have the over-the-top bullying aspect of that novel. I love Speak, but sometimes it felt like the author piling on problems for the main character. This novel avoids that but also doesn't make light of what happened. It's a very nice balance. I'll be on the lookout for more books from this author.
WHO SHOULD READ: fans of Speak, contemporary fiction fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five solid debuts

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Book Review: Because You Love to Hate Me

TITLE: Because You Love to Hate Me
AUTHOR: Various
PUBLISHED: July 11th, 2017
CATEGORY: YA
GENRE: Fantasy
PREMISE: A bunch of popular YA authors write stories featuring villains based on prompts given to them by popular Booktubers.
MY REVIEW: If you're part of the YA community, you've likely heard about this one. There's a big stink (yes, another one!) being raised because apparently people don't like Booktubers getting involved with this for whatever reason. A majority of it being, they just don't like Booktubers. For those that don't know what Booktube is, it's basically the corner of Youtube where people just talk about the books they read. For more context: some people think Booktubers are too involved with publishers are lying to them for...reasons, I guess (no one seems to know what exactly they're lying to us about...), and so on and so forth.
Me...I watch Booktube, I won't lie. Including some of the people involved with this book. I...have issues with it (it's too YA focused, there needs to be more variety in the reviewers/books talked about, the way they handle issues within the community leaves a lot to be desired, there's too much snobbery towards certain things, etc. etc). But I also kind of can't help but notice the people complaining about Booktube don't have any actual evidence of any wrong doing in the community, it mostly just seems to be people who are salty their own Booktube channel didn't take off overnight or whatever. So yeah...I've got issues, but I also think this idea that they somehow are doing something bad....is a little ridiculous.
Now, onto the book itself. It was...okay. It's like most short story collections: some are better then others. Some, I think calling them villain stories is....stretching it  to say the least. But there are some really interesting ones in here. For me, the favorites were the ones by Renee Ahdieh, Cindy Pon, and Victoria Schwab. The rest were all a little meh for me. I think I honestly liked the concept of this book more then the actual book itself. Because I love the whole practice of just taking a prompt and running with it. It's always so interesting to see what authors come up with.
WHO SHOULD READ: YA fans, Retelling fans, Once Upon a Time fans
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Book Review: Windfall

TITLE: Windfall
AUTHOR: Jennifer E. Smith
PUBLISHED: May 2nd, 2017
CATEGORY: YA
GENRE: Realistic Fiction, Romance
PREMISE: A girl's life becomes complicated when her best friend/person she's in love with wins the lottery...
MY REVIEW: Full disclosure: I've never read any of Jennifer E. Smith's books before. I know she's pretty popular. Her Statistical Probability book is on like a ton of recommendation lists. So I have no real idea if this story is typical of her writing or not. This mostly came on my radar because apparently it's already been optioned for a movie.
Personally...it was just okay for me. It's a pretty typical contemporary romance. There's just an added commentary on how money doesn't solve all problems and whatnot. The writing was passable, the characters were okay. I didn't really think much of the romance, but it didn't tick me off. Basically...this book was just kind of there.
I can see this doing well as a cute romantic movie for February, which is what I imagine Hollywood has planned. If you're in the mood for a sweet romance, this will probably suit you. Me, I just kind of can't help but shrug at it.
WHO SHOULD READ: Jennifer E. Smith fans, Romance fans, Kasie West fans
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five cute romances but that's about it