Sunday, November 19, 2017

Book Review: Never Caught

TITLE: Never Caught: The Washington's Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge
AUTHOR: Erica Armstrong Dunbar
CATEGORY: Non-Fiction
PUBLISHED: February 7th, 2017
GENRE: History
PREMISE: A non-fiction book that looks into the slave Ona Judge, who ran away from George and Martha Washington.
MY REVIEW: I wanted to read this one almost as soon as I heard about it. Most people do not go into the fact that the founding fathers owned slaves. In fact, some people go out of their way to ignore it. Or try to paint it in a rosy "well, they treated them with kindness so it was like...okay!" light. Look at all the ways people try to romanticize Jefferson having sex with his slaves (or in some cases, outright say it didn't happen because that doesn't fit their world view of Jefferson).
For the most part, I did like this one a lot. Unfortunately...it didn't go enough into Ona Judge's story. I think the author just didn't have enough solid information. Half of the stuff about Ona is in fact, speculation on the author's part. Logical speculation, sure. She does present all the facts she has and show you how she comes to her conclusions...but ultimately....it's speculation.
The far more interesting thing to me here was the deep look into pre-Civil War attitudes about slavery. I really wish the book had actually been more about this, because that a) had solid information and b) was just more interesting because it is a thing that most people just don't go into. It was nice having a book that did not wax poetic about George Washington for a change. Sorry guys, he was flawed. All the founding fathers were flawed. Yes, they did great things. But they were also human beings with many faults. I personally would love a book that focused on the founding fathers and their views on slavery because there is a bit in this book that goes into it a little and it's pretty fascinating (and also disturbing sometimes when you consider the mental gymnastics some of them had to have done to justify their views).
WHO SHOULD READ: those interested in american history
MY RATING: Four out of Five looks at things people don't often talk about

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

So You've Finally: Got caught up on Game of Thrones

So you've finally got caught up on Game of Thrones. You've read all of the Song of Ice and Fire books and you've realized you probably have quite a long wait before you get new content from both the show and the books. Well, here are some things that I think GoT fans might be interested in reading next:

You're curious about reading more from George R. R. Martin

Dreamsongs series by George R. R. Martin

Martin has written a ton of short stories. Some in the Game of Thrones universe, some not. Dreamsongs collects a whole bunch of those short stories into one collection. So far there are three books.







You loved the warrior women in the series and kind of wished the series focused only on them:

The Conqueror's Saga by Kiersten White

If you want more women fighting and taking names, I recommend this alternate history series where Vlad the Impaler was actually a female. It's as awesome as it sounds.







You. Want. Dragons.

Temeraire series by Naomi Novik

Looking for a long dragon series to sink your teeth into? I recommend this alternate history series where dragons were involved in the Napoleon wars. Have not personally read this myself, but I've heard great things and it sounds perfect for dragon fans.






More dark fantasy please:

First Law series by Joe Abercrombie

If you want your fantasy to be grimdark, this is definitely one to go too.









You like Jon Snow, okay?:

Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb

From the looks of things, all Robin Hobb's books will be good for Game of Thrones fans. But if you're particularly invested in Jon Snow, this trilogy looks like it'll do the trick.







You're in it for Tyrion:

Gentleman Bastard series by Scott Lynch

I have not personally read this series yet (look, I have a huge TBR list okay?) but from the sound of things, Tyrion would get on well with the characters of these books.







You just want another fantasy epic to sink your teeth into while you wait for more Game of Thrones:

The Riyria Revelations series by Michael J. Sullivan

From the sound of things this series has all the plots and twists of Game of Thrones and also has that really long story thing going on.








As much as you liked Game of Thrones, you would have liked a) more women, and b) more humor:

Rat Queens graphic novel series by Kurtis J. Wiebe

If you want more snark and humor with your fantasy as well as more awesome women, I recommend this comic series from Image about a group of female mercenaries in a fantasy world.








Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Book Review: The Gallery of Unfinished Girls

TITLE: The Gallery of Unfinished Girls
AUTHOR: Lauren Karcz
CATEGORY: YA
PUBLISHED: July 25th, 2017
GENRE: Magical Realism
PREMISE: A girl deals with difficulty in her life while meeting a mysterious artist who helps her and others with their creativity...
MY REVIEW: I know what you all are thinking: you keep saying you don't like magical realism....but you keep picking them up???? I don't know either guys, it's a thing with me. This genre disappoints me over and over again, but they make their plots sound so interesting and so I think "hmm...well maybe this one will be good!" because for every nine magical realism books I hate, there's one I actually don't mind. So...I keep picking them up despite getting burned over and over again. It's an issue, I know that.
This one had all the usual problems I have with magical realism: slow plot, nothing much going on, great idea for magical bit but not much of an explanation for how magical bit is going on. But, it also had beautiful writing and meaningful character development. So...I'm torn on this one. At least with this one there was a bit of a point to it.
I think whether you like this will just depend on personal taste. I didn't mind this one, but also didn't completely love it.
WHO SHOULD READ: magical realism fans, contemporary fans, artists
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five unfinished portraits

Book Review: Etched in Bone

TITLE: Etched in Bone
Book 5 in the Others series
AUTHOR: Anne Bishop
CATEGORY: Adult
PUBLISHED: March 7th, 2017
GENRE: Urban Fantasy/Alternate History
PREMISE: Things in the Others series finally come to a head...
MY REVIEW: Have you ever had a series give great build-up only to get to the end and go "really? That's it?"? Well, that is sadly me with The Others series. It pains me to say this too, because I really loved this series.
The first problem is: this book is really slow. I know, I've said that with all the books. But with this one....that slowness was doubled down on to the point that when I got to the ending, I was a little confused and didn't realize I had read the ending. Turns out, I actually haven't. See, now there's going to be new books in this series, but it's going to deal with new characters. I suspect this was a last minute decision and that caused this last book to suffer because the author had to change things. I might read the new book next year, I might not. We'll see how I feel next year.
So yeah...I don't know guys. I still like this series. I recommend it for all who like in depth world-building and don't mind slow-burn plots. Emphasis on slow. But this last book....yeah, I kind of get the feeling that author didn't really know what she wanted to do with it and the book suffered from an anti-climatic ending as a result.
WHO SHOULD READ: fans of the first four books, Anne Bishop fans, fantasy readers who don't mind slow plots
RATING FOR THIS BOOK: Three and a half out of Five disappointed sad sighs
RATING FOR SERIES (I'm counting the first five books as their own series #don'tcare): Four out of Five

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Book Review: Proxy

TITLE: Proxy
Book 1 in a series
AUTHOR: Alex London
PUBLISHED: 2013
CATEGORY: YA
GENRE: Dystopian
PREMISE: Two boys from different sides get caught up in a rebellion in a dystopian future.
MY REVIEW: This is one of those books that has been on my radar for awhile, it just has taken me awhile to get to it. Look, there are a lot of books I want to read okay? My TBR list would make you weep from the sheer size of it.
For the most part, this is pretty typical dystopian stuff. Once again, I notice it talks about class issues and privilege better then Sandcastle Empire did. I know, I know, one day I will stop ranting about that book. But today will not be that day. One thing that really sets it apart from other dystopians is the dynamic between Knox and Syd. There are definite inspirations drawn from The Whipping Boy here and it works rather well.
This is not a unique book by any means, but it is interesting, has a solid plot and issues that it brings up and talks about fairly well. Looks like the author has another book coming next year that looks interesting and there is a sequel to this book. I look forward to eventually reading both.
WHO SHOULD READ: those looking for LGBT dystopian books, fans of The Whipping Boy and Feed, Dystopian fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five interesting dystopian societies

Friday, November 10, 2017

Author Review: Rebecca Solnit

TITLES OF BOOKS: Hope in the Dark
Men Explain Things To Me
The Mother of All Questions
AUTHOR: Rebecca Solnit
PUBLISHED: 2004, 2014, 2017
CATEGORY: Non-Fiction
GENRE: Essays, Articles, Feminism
PREMISE: In three of her books, Solnit discusses various issues surrounding politics, feminism, and activism.
MY REVIEW: Over the past few months I've been reading through these three books by Rebecca Solnit. For those who have no idea who Solnit is, you probably know or have used a term she coined: Mansplaining. That term is credited to her essay Men Explain Things to Me. She's also a frequent columnist on many websites, including LitHub.
I specifically want to talk about Men Explain Things to Me though, because mansplaining has been a thing getting a lot of flack lately around the internet. Mostly from men, but not always. First, I'd like to point out, Solnit herself is not altogether pleased by how much the term has been overused. She says as much in some endnotes after the Men Explain Things to Me essay. So maybe put your misandry claims away, okay? Second, I think people frankly deliberately misunderstand what the term means. No, it does not mean men can't explain stuff ever. If a woman actually asks for your opinion and you are actually educated and know a thing or two about the subject, go ahead and talk about it! We won't care. Because that's not mansplaining.
Mansplaining is a man making the assumption that a woman can't possibly know this one brilliant thing they know and so proceed to condescendingly explain the thing to us. Yes, sometimes females do this to people too (geeks of all shapes and forms tend to do this to new fans I've discovered and guys, seriously, cut it out). But it is not quite at the same rate as men do it to women. I see you men going "well wait, then how do I know if I'm mansplaining or not?" It's very simple: did the woman ask for your opinion and do you actually know a thing or two about the subject? No to both or one of those questions? You are probably mansplaining. Stop.
Men Explain Things to Me is probably the best of all the essays. But there are a whole lot of really good ones. Hope in the Dark is also incredibly interesting to read at times because it features essays written during the Bush years and it's like a peek back in time to what was going on then. I'm still wrapping my mind around the fact that it's been over a decade some some of the early Bush years.
WHO SHOULD READ: feminists, those interested in social justice issues or politics
MY RATING FOR ALL OF THE BOOKS: Four out of Five satisfied nods

Monday, November 6, 2017

2 in 1 Poetry Books Review

So I read two poetry books this past month. I know, who am I? But I am going to be doing poetry as the genre I'm focusing on next year and I thought I'd get an early taste of it by knocking off some recent poetry releases off the TBR list. Here they are:

TITLE: The Princess Saves Herself in This One
AUTHOR: Amanda Lovelace
CATEGORY: Poetry
PUBLISHED: 2016
SOME THOUGHTS: I liked this one. As I often say with these things: I am not a poetry expert. I haven't even taken a class in it. I can't tell you what is good style and what is bad style and whatnot. All I can do right now is let you know if I liked it or not. I liked this one.
MY RATING: Three and a half I liked it shrugs



TITLE: There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyonce
AUTHOR: Morgan Parker
CATEGORY: Poetry
PUBLISHED: February 14th, 2017
SOME THOUGHTS: Again I liked this. Again...not sure if it is actually good or not. But I can tell you there's some poems in here that really struck a cord with me.
MY RATING: Four out of Five cleverly titled poems

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Book Review: Like Water For Chocolate

TITLE: Like Water for Chocolate
AUTHOR: Laura Esquivel
CATEGORY: Adult
PUBLISHED: 1989 (1992 in the US)
GENRE: Romance, Magical Realism I guess...
PREMISE: A woman deals with not being able to be with the man she loves...
MY REVIEW: This book....I just don't really know what to make of it. This is one of those books that people absolutely love. Unfortunately, it just was very much a case of not for me.
First: it's magical realism and all the frustrations that come with that genre for me. It's slow and tedious. The author clearly wanted me to feel sorry for the main character, because of all the stuff she piled on her. But...all I kept thinking was why didn't she tell her mother to go jump in the river? The whole "you only have to take care of me and you can't marry!" thing made absolutely no logical sense. That I think is what ultimately hindered the book for me. Throughout it I kept waiting for someone to go "hey, you know this is seriously messed up, right?" but no one did. Like...really? As for the love interest....I kept getting told by fans of this book how super romantic he was...I frankly did not see it. He wasn't quite as bad as the guy from Love in the Time of Cholera (don't get me started on that nonsense) but he still wasn't great.
So yeah...maybe if you're super romantic this one is for you. Me....I just kept going "but this makes no sense!" during the entire book, so that hindered the experience of it for me. The writing is pretty, I'll give the author that. Apparently there was all this symbolism in it that was great, according to literature snobs (those apparently went over my head during my boredom). If you want your happy ending, you get it. I just...could not with this one. Oh magical realism, why can't I get you?????!!!!!
WHO SHOULD READ: Super romantic fans not bothered by ridiculous premises, magical realism fans
MY RATING: Three out of  Five not for me feelings

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Notable Releases: 10/29-11/4

Apologies for not having one of these up last week. There just wasn't time in the schedule to do one. Some awesome books from last week I suggest checking out are: We're Going to Need More Wine by Gabrielle Union, The Book of Dust by Phillip Pullman, Dear Martin by Nic Stone and many more.

But here are this past week's releases that are definitely on my radar:

MG/YA

 Beasts Made of Night by Tochi Oneybuchi

I don't have much high expectations for this one (reviews so far have been rather low), but I'm still giving it a shot because I'm a sucker that way.








Tortall: A Spy's Guide by Tamora Pierce

Once upon a time, Pierce promised us Tortall fans a guide to Tortall. It's been like over five years since that promise, but we're finally getting it! Also finally getting that Numair book. I still wish it was the Tris in magic school book that was mentioned instead (Tris is my favorite), but I'll take what I can get.






Adult Fiction

The Midst of Winter by Isabel Allende

Historical Fiction novel from Isabel Allende. I can pretty much guarantee you'll hear about this come next year's book awards selection time.

Star Wars: The Legends of Luke Skywalker by Ken Liu

Are you pumped for The Last Jedi? Same. To tide you over till then, here's a book going into what Luke got up too before Rey tracked him down.








Non-Fiction

Dorothy Brooke and the Fight to Save Cairo's Last War Horses by Grant Hayter-Menzies

Never heard of this lady, but this promises stubborn lady and horses. I'm in.








Graphic Novels/Manga

Two-Face: A Celebration of 75 Years
Very DC Universe Rebirth Holiday TP
Vampirella: The Dynamite Years Omnibus Vol. 1
Walking Dead Omnibus Vol. 7 HC
Generation X Vol. 1: Natural Selection
Mortal Instruments Vol. 1 GN

Friday, November 3, 2017

Mini-Review Catch-Up Number 2

One of these again. I really do need to get better about this. I apologize.

TITLE: The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue
AUTHOR: Mackenzie Lee
CATEGORY: YA
PUBLISHED: June 27th, 2017
GENRE: Historical Fiction, Fantasyish
QUICK TAKE: Absolutely adored this one. It's a fun romp through historical Europe with a cast you pretty much fall in love with from the get go. There's apparently going to be another book focusing on Feliciy and I for one cannot wait. One of my favorites of the year for sure.
WHO SHOULD READ: fans of My Lady Jane, those looking for fun LGBTQA books
MY RATING: Four and a half out of Five happy sighs

TITLE: All the Lives I Want: Essays About My Best Friends Who Happen to be Complete Strangers
AUTHOR: Alana Massey
CATEGORY: Non-Fiction
PUBLISHED: February 7th, 2017
GENRE: Essays
QUICK TAKE: Fun essay collection covering a variety of pop culture topics. There are even a few literary analysis essays in here. Including one that managed to put into words just how sexist the Virgin Suicides book is and why so much of that plot was just not okay.
WHO SHOULD READ: Essay fans, if you like opinion articles about pop culture
MY RATING: Four out of Five satisfied nods

TITLE: Always and Forever, Lara Jean
Book 3 in the PS I Love You Trilogy
AUTHOR: Jenny Han
CATEGORY: YA
PUBLISHED: May 2nd, 2017
GENRE: Contemporary, Romance
QUICK TAKE: Okay ending that ultimately...I kind of felt wasn't very necessary. It didn't solve any lingering plots that were left over or anything like that. Basically all it did was tell you things like yes, her dad gets remarried, you find out what college she's going too, that sort of thing. It ended things for sure...it was enjoyable. It was just ultimately...kind of pointless which pains me to say, because I adored the first two books.
WHO SHOULD READ: Super fans of the first two Lara Jean books, everyone else...it's no big deal if you miss this.
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five shrugs
RATING FOR TRILOGY: Four out of Five

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Book Review: Queens of Geek

TITLE: Queens of Geek
AUTHOR: Jen Wilde
PUBLISHED: March 14th, 2017
CATEGORY: YA
GENRE: Contemporary
PREMISE: A celebrity and her friends go to their first geek convention.
MY REVIEW: This is one of the many books about geeks being published this year. It is most definitely a love letter to fandom like all of these books essentially are. By all rights, I should have loved this one. Sadly...I couldn't do more then shrug at it.
The writing is very juvenile and that is what hindered a lot of it for me. The plot constantly wanders, the author doesn't know how to bring up topics in a subtle way so all the moments that I could feel her wanting me to go "hell yeah!" mostly had me going "well, yeah, I agree with that but...you couldn't have found a better way to write this?" There is one character in particular who is basically every troll rolled into one guy (kind of like that one villain character in Geekerella) and it just...started to get a little ridiculous and honestly just plain unrealistic. Look, I do my share of ranting, believe me. Heck, I've done it here. But I don't go around sounding like a tumblr feminist rant post all day either. Also the author's dialogue really needs some work. There were a LOT of people giggling in this book and authors...once you're past the kid age...you don't really giggle. That's a kid thing.
That's not to say this book isn't enjoyable. I did in the end, like it. It's just...I kept thinking through out it, that it could have been done ten times better, with more time spent editing and fine-tuning it. If you just want seriously cute romances staring geeks, it is good for that. I just kept wanting more from it.
WHO SHOULD READ: Younger teens, those looking for just cute romances with LGBTQA representation, Geekerella fans
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five sad sighs because I wanted to love this

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Book Review: Wolf Whistle Politics

TITLE: Wolf Whistle Politics
AUTHOR: various, edited by Naomi Wolf
CATEGORY: Non-Fiction
PUBLISHED: May 23rd, 2017
GENRE: Essays, Feminism, Social Commentary
PREMISE: A collection of essays, articles written in the past year or so that center around sexism and wolf whistle politics.
MY REVIEW: So this is yet another essay collection. This one is a very quick read, it's less then two hundred pages so it shouldn't take long too read. It's like most collections where some things in it are better then others. This one had a lot of good ones, but also one or two that...where honestly kind of reaching and not really written well.
But there where two that stood out for me. One was the essay where the book gets its title from. That one described what Wolf Whistle politics is and went even further into coded language which I think is something we all need to take a long hard look at. Personally, I feel like coded language is one of the many reasons sexism/racism etc. has managed to survive despite our many efforts to get rid of it. Bigots and sexists got smart and realized they couldn't be up front about their crap anymore and so they started getting more subtle in the way they did things. They do it in such away that lets them go "no no, that's not bigotry/sexism! Because like I'm not directly saying I think you're inferior to me!" but they are heavily implying it. The subtlety also allows for other people to look the other way and pretend it doesn't exist. See all the "Ugh SJWs are so over-sensitive" comments.
The other essay that stood out was one that went into the history of conservative politics and how the Democratic Party and Republican Party basically switched policies/interests in the sixties/seventies. I kind of wish everyone would read this, especially Republicans who like to brag about how they got rid of slavery. Sorry, you didn't. The Republican party in Lincoln's time was incredibly different then the Republican Party of today. Also please don't go acting like this means your party wasn't racist. there were Republicans very much against the abolition of slavery. Just because people didn't want to own slaves, didn't mean they weren't racist.
So this one was a bit of a mixed bag. There were several good essays/articles in here though and I do think the good far outweighs the bad. So if you're looking for some essays to read, this is an interesting one to look into.
WHO SHOULD READ: Feminists, those interested in current events
MY RATING: Four out of Five

Monday, October 23, 2017

Reading Through the Classics: The Sound and the Fury

TITLE: The Sound and the Fury
AUTHOR: William Faulkner
CATEGORY: Adult
PUBLISHED: 1929
GENRE: Realistic Fiction
PREMISE: A book detailing the various tragedies of the Compson family.
MY THOUGHTS: Oh boy, where do I begin with this one? Full disclosure: I hate this book. I understand it was experimental fiction. According to literature snobs, this book is genius. Me...I just think it's a confusing mess. This book is a perfect example of pretentious as hell.
I'm sorry writers, but if I need some sort of key or code to understand your book...you did not write a very good book. Someone on Goodreads explained it perfectly: this is a book that makes people feel smart if they get it, so they decided that meant it was a masterpiece. All of this is not even going into the rampant sexism and racism in this book. Faulkner was definitely a man of his time and so that stuff is everywhere in this. Again: I know, it was written in the twenties. Again: DOES NOT MAKE IT OKAY and definitely does not mean I have to like it. I also frankly did not care for the way Faulker messed with writing style in this. I assume there was some sort of reason he kept changing up whether or not he was going to use apostrophes on things like don't or won't, but really all he succeeded in doing was making me want to take a big red pen and correct my book.
This is yet another classic that I just could not get into. Do I get what the author was going for? Sure. Is it brilliant writing...well...I don't think so but writing is very often in the eye of the beholder. I think this book is kind of a product of its time and hasn't aged terribly well. Perhaps I will try his other books (I hear they're all kind of different from each other) but...don't hold your breath.
WHO SHOULD READ: Literature fans, Faulkner fans, Hemingway fans

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Notable Releases: 10/15-10/21

I should probably warn you all now: my updating will be random here over the next few months. It's holiday time and I'm in retail. That equals much busier and much wackier schedule. I will try to at least keep this feature up to date, but reviews...who knows.

Here are this past week's releases that are on my radar:

YA/MG

The Midnight Dance by Nikki Katz

I'm intrigued by this one but the reviews so far don't fill me with much confidence. Plus it's put out by Swoon Reads and I've noticed their books and I don't tend to mesh very well together. But...I'm giving it a shot anyway. Because that's what I do. I really should be pickier about books....

A Line in the Dark by Malinda Lo

Lo doing thrillers? Yes please.








Dear Martin by Nic Stone

This is a debut that has been getting tons of buzz. Lots of comparisons to The Hate U Give. Which is probably setting my expectations way too high, so I'm watching that. 







Yes, Pullman is returning to the His Dark Materials world! I am here for this like you wouldn't believe. 


Another debut that has been getting lots of good buzz. 







Adult Fiction

Night Vale Book 1: It Devours! by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor

Yes, a new Night Vale novel! Finally!







Non-Fiction

Grant by Ron Chernow

The author of Hamilton, aka that biography that helped inspire the musical, tackles Grant. 







Oriana Fallaci: The Journalist, The Agitator, The Legend by Cristina de Stefano

Interesting looking biography about an Italian journalist.







Where the Past Begins: A Writer's Memoir by Amy Tan

Tan doing a memoir on her writing inspirations and writing? I'm in. 








This week's celebrity memoir/book comes to you from Gabrielle Union, a long time actress who's been in...well a lot. 

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Book Review: Traitor to the Throne

TITLE: Traitor to the Throne
Book 2 in the Rebel of the Sands series
AUTHOR: Alwyn Hamilton
PUBLISHED: March 7th, 2017
CATEGORY: YA
GENRE: Fantasy
PREMISE: Amani and her group continue their rebellion...
MY REVIEW: First, one thing I have to get off my chest: STOP CHANGING COVERS MID-SERIES PUBLISHERS. It's annoying. Especially when you change it to frankly, rather ugly covers. That first cover was beautiful. These...not so much. This is a pet peeve of mine. Seriously, knock it off.
Now, onto the book. Some of you may recall I was rather ho hum about Rebel in the Sands. Everyone else seemed to love it. Me...it was just average. But it was intriguing enough that I picked up the sequel and holy hell guys, this sequel should be held up as example on how to improve your trilogy in one book.
First, the author stopped focusing on romance and suddenly...everything was better. Amani was awesome, her boyfriend was awesome, there was no love triangle like I feared and it was all great. The rebels were all given time to shine, it focused on world-building more, it focused on character development more. Even the writing improved. If there was an award for most improved series, this series gets it.
I love when series improve like this. It's sadly rare when it happens, but this one did and now I am really eager for book three.
WHO SHOULD READ: fans of Rebel of the Sands, The Wrath and the Dawn duology fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five pleasant surprises

Book Review: Tash Hearts Tolstoy

TITLE: Tash Hearts Tolstoy
AUTHOR: Kathryn Ormsbee
PUBLISHED: June 6th, 2017
CATEGORY: YA
GENRE: Contemporary
PREMISE: A girl and her friends suddenly find their web series thrust into the spotlight when a famous youtuber gives them a shout out...
MY REVIEW: This is the latest in a long line of what I'm personally calling proud to be geek books. Seriously, there have been a LOT of geek focused books lately, have you guys noticed? This year alone we have: Geekerella, Queens of Geek, Eliza and Her Monsters, this book, and a few others that are basically focused on geeks. I personally am all for it. Though I think some of them have...shall we say idealized versions of the geek world. But it has been an interesting trend to watch happen over the past year.
This one focuses on the YouTube part of the geek world. The thing that thrilled me the most about it was that its main character was asexual. Not the side character, not a bit character that gets mentioned, the actual main character was asexual. This is huge to me because I honestly figured we never would get this far in YA. But here we are. There's also another book featuring an asexual character coming out next year. I hope this continues. I should probably explain that this excitement I have for this development  is a bit selfish on my part. I'm mostly excited for this because I am demi-sexual. If we get asexual representation....maybe just maybe we'll actually start to get some demi-sexual representation. I'm not holding my breath anytime soon (entertainment in general doesn't seem to understand that this is actually a thing) but I can at least cross my fingers. It's bound to happen eventually, right?
Now as for the book itself...I won't lie, it's a pretty typical contemporary book. Thing happens, girl learns important life lessons, there's drama and so on and so forth. The writing is average, the plot is decently paced. I was actually pleasantly surprised by the end because it didn't go the way I expected it to go at all. If you are loving these contemporary books about geeks that have been popping up this is a fun one to continue on with.
WHO SHOULD READ: geeks, fans of Geekerella, Eliza and Her Monsters, Queens of Geek
MY RATING: Four out of Five books that just make you happy

Monday, October 16, 2017

Notable Releases: 10/8-1014

And I'm late once again with this. So sorry about that. Anyway, here are this week's notable releases that are on my radar.:

MG/YA

Echo After Echo by Amy Rose Capetta

LGBTQA contemporary involving theater. I'm in.








Rise of the Empress Book 1: Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao

Fantasy debut I've heard really good things about. Please don't let me down, book. I want at least ONE good fantasy debut this year.






Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

I'm pretty sure everyone and their mother knows this one is coming out. Green certainly doesn't need my help to promote his books. But in case you like forgot or something...

Berserker Book 1 by Emmy Laybourne

This one is promising me historical fantasy: western setting. I'm in.

All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater

New Stiefvater book! Yes! Also, yes, I am aware of those cultural appropriation claims going around about this book. But I can't help but notice that like what happened with Ramona Blue, those claims are made by people who just decided it was appropriation from reading the blurb. So sorry, I can't really take those claims very seriously.



Adult Fiction

The Power by Naomi Alderman

This has been out elsewhere for awhile now, but here in the US it is finally getting released and I've heard some damn good things and can't wait.







Non-Fiction

Black Dahlia, Red Rose: The Crime, Corruption, and Cover-Up of America's Greatest Unsolved Murder by Piu Marie Eatwell

I've heard about the Black Dahlia murder, but I confess...I don't particularly know what the story IS. So I'm rather interested in picking this one up.





A Moonless, Starless Sky: Ordinary Women and Men Fighting Extremism in Africa by Alexis Okeowo

Sounds like this one could be pretty inspiring.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Review Catch-up: Four mini-reviews of books I've Read Recently:

Okay, I"m way behind on book reviews. I meant to have more this past week, but time got away from me. So here are five quick reviews of some books I've read in the past two months:

TITLE: Lady Midnight
Book 1 in the Dark Artifices series
AUTHOR: Cassandra Clare
PUBLISHED: 2016
CATEGORY: YA
GENRE: Urban Fantasy
THOUGHTS: Same old, same old from Cassandra Clare. Sorry guys, I don't see this amazing breakthrough people on YouTube kept saying this book was. This had literally the same plot points as Mortal Instruments had, down too beloved adult figure turning around and betraying them all.
But, we've established I'm trash for this series, so despite issues I have with it...I'll still read the next one. Curse my weakness.
WHO SHOULD READ: Die-hard Cassandra Clare fans
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five

TITLE: The Refugees
AUTHOR: Viet Thanh Nguyen
PUBLISHED: February 7th, 2017
CATEGORY: Adult
GENRE: Contemporary/Short Stories
THOUGHTS: Typical short story collection. Some better then others. I suspect there was some nuance in these stories that was lost on me though, because a lot of it focuses on issues in Vietnam and I don't particularly know much about that country (other then we had a war there, and whole lot of issues sprung up from that war). It has made me interested in picking up The Sympathizer though.
WHO SHOULD READ: fans of the author's book The Sympathizer
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five

TITLE: Madly (called The Potions Diaries in the UK)
Book 1 in the Potions series
AUTHOR: Amy Alward
PUBLISHED: 2015
CATEGORY: YA
GENRE: Fantasy
THOUGHTS: Cute fantasy about a girl entering a potions contest. The writing is a bit juvenile so this probably geared more towards the younger YA crowd, rather then the older one. So if you know any tweens who love Descendants and are looking for something to read, I would absolutely give them this.
WHO SHOULD READ: younger teens, Descendents fans
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five

TITLE: My Life, My Love, My Legacy
 AUTHOR: Coretta Scott King
PUBLISHED: January 17th, 2017
CATEGORY: Non-Fiction
GENRE: Biography
THOUGHTS: Pretty typical biography. What was most interesting to me, was the peeks into the Civil Rights movement that we don't often see. Since she was the wife of MLK, King did get a front row seat into the planning that went on and in many cases during and after her husband's death, often organized things like marches and many other things she didn't get enough credit for.
WHO SHOULD READ: those interested in learning about civil rights history
MY RATING: Four out of Five