Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Book Review: Queens of Geek

TITLE: Queens of Geek
AUTHOR: Jen Wilde
PUBLISHED: March 14th, 2017
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 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 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
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 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:


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!


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
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. 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
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.:


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.


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
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
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
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

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Notable Releases: 10/1-10/7

Here are all the release from this past week. Apologies for no post last weekend, I unfortunately was very busy and couldn't post. Some potentially awesome books that came out that week include: There's Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins, The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo, Diviners 3: The Devil Breaks You by Libba Bray (FINALLY), and Invictus by Ryan Graudin

Here are THIS past week's notable releases that you can probably expect me to be reviewing at some point.


The Hanging Girl by Eileen Cook

Sounds like this will be a good spooky one for fall.

Vanderbeekers Book 1: The Vanderbeekers of 141rst Street by Karina Yan Glaser

A middle-grade book that has been getting some buzz and sounds like it's going to be adorable.

Wild Beauty by Anne-Marie McLemore

I have a feeling this is going to be the book that comes in October's OwlCrate box. On one hand, I'm not a fan of magical realism, on the other hand...gorgeous cover is gorgeous so...I don't mind.

Magnus Chase Book 3: The Ship of the Dead by Rick Riordan

You all know I love Rick Riordan. Of course this book makes the list.

Devil's and Thieves Book 1 by Jennifer Rush

I remember enjoying Rush's Altered series and this sounds like it could be cool. Reviews aren't filling me with much confidence but as I've said in the past: I can't really put much stock into Goodreads reviews. I mean, there are people who will give one star ratings to a book just because that book is the start of a series and that person hates series. So yeah.

Nightside Saga 1: 27 Hours by Tristina Wright

LGBTQA sci-fi book that looks like it could be cool. Again, the ratings on Goodreads are making me hesitate, but again...I don't particularly trust Goodreads reviewers that yeah. We'll have to see about this one.

Adult Fiction

Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View by various authors

Short story collection celebrating Star Wars' 40th anniversary. It apparently is basically the movies, but told from the perspective of various side characters. I love shit like this and some of those names of authors have me very excited about this book.

The Indigo Girl by Natasha Boyd

Historical fiction that sounds like it could be interesting. I'm a little confused about why it's marketed as adult fiction though. From the summary, the main character is a teenager. So this should be in the YA section. But whatever. I've given up figuring out why marketers put things in what section.

Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado

A short story collection that has been getting lots of buzz.

Their Bright Ascendency 1: The Tiger's Daughter by K. Arsenault Rivera

Fantasy LGBTQA book I've been hearing good things about. But there have also been accusations of racism against it so...yeah. I'm reading it, but also very wary. Which is why it will be a library read.


From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death by Caitlin Daughty

A book looking at how different cultures/countries bury their dead. It sound morbid, but also kind of fascinating.


New Superman Vol. 2: Coming to America
Red Hood and the Outlaws Vol. 2: Who is Artemis

Friday, October 6, 2017

Book Review: Talking as Fast as I Can

TITLE: Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls and Gilmore Girls to Everything In Between
AUTHOR: Lauren Graham
CATEGORY: Non-Fiction
PUBLISHED: November 2016
GENRE: Memoirs
PREMISE: Actress Lauren Graham talks about her life during the filming of Gilmore Girls, Parenthood and much more.
MY REVIEW: Celebrity memoirs are for a certain type of audience. Namely, it's for people who are fans of the person writing the memoir. If you are not a fan of the person in question, you more then likely aren't going to be picking this up at all. But I am a Lauren Graham fan and a huge Gilmore Girls fan (for the record, I am team Rory Needs to Work on Herself Before She Has a Boyfriend).
This was a pretty typical memoir. There's nothing really major revealed in it. It's a quick and easy read. I finished it in a day. The thing I most liked was the chapter where she watches through Gilmore Girls and shares some thoughts.
So if you are a Lauren Graham or just Gilmore Girls/Parenthood fan...pick this one up. If you aren' probably were never going to read this in the first place. From what I hear the audiobook is much better then reading it. Apparently Graham herself narrates it and does a really good job. So if you are inclined towards audiobooks, I'd try it that way.
WHO SHOULD READ: Lauren Graham fans, Gilmore Girl fans, Parenthood fans
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five fun memoirs

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Book Review: American War

TITLE: American War
AUTHOR: Omar El Akkad
PUBLISHED: April 4rth, 2017
GENRE: Dystopian
PREMISE: A person recalls their life as the second American Civil War breaks out...
MY REVIEW: If you've been itching for some good dystopian after reading 1984 (yes, I know at least someone who reads this blog, read that book), might I suggest this one? This is yet another example of how the dystopian genre isn't dead.
This set up is if the more conservative states decided to succeed from the US again. Considering all the things happening nowadays...I honestly am not entirely sure this won't happen again in the future. The author cleverly lays out how it happened in between the main character's story with interviews, news articles etc. It's well written, it's not a chosen one fixes everything type of dystopian either, which was nice.
This is more of a character focused dystopian so there's not much action, but despite that it goes by fairly quickly. I'm impressed that this is the author's first book as well. He's apparently a reporter by trade (which explains the article angle of the book) and that definitely seems to have helped a lot. This was a damn good dystopian. I hope we see more books from this author in the future.
WHO SHOULD READ: fans of Exit West, dystopian fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five well developed dystopian worlds

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Book Review: Song of the Current

TITLE: Song of the Current
Book 1 in a new series
AUTHOR: Sarah Tolcser
PUBLISHED: June 6th, 2017
GENRE: Fantasy
PREMISE: A girl gets caught up in a web of politics when she agrees to take cargo on her father's ship...
MY REVIEW: I'm...not particularly sure how I feel about this one if I'm really honest. I didn't really gain any real feelings about the book as I was reading it. It was one of those plots that move along at record pace and so I didn't particularly get anything out of the book.
As an entertaining fantasy, it does the job. Characters are okay. Setting is okay. Plot is okay. Everything is just...okay to me. There wasn't really anything to set it apart from any other fantasy I have read other then it was nice to have a biracial main character.
So yeah. This book is fine. No real problems with it. huge attachment to it either. It's just...there. I might read the sequel though. It ended in an interesting place.
WHO SHOULD READ: those who like action packed fantasy, fans of The Girl From Everywhere series
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five shrugs

Monday, October 2, 2017

Book Review: The Disappearances

TITLE: The Disappearances
AUTHOR: Emily Bain Murphy
PUBLISHED: July 4rth, 2017
GENRE: Historical Fiction, Mystery, Magical Realism
PREMISE: A girl gets sent to a small town in the 1940s where people are losing things such as the ability to hear music.
MY REVIEW: This book is one of those many YA books that is a mixture of many genres. It's historical fiction first and foremost. But it's also mystery and also magical realism. Now, before you look at that magical realism part and go "oh, she hated it then", brace yourself: I actually didn't hate this one. Didn't love it. But didn't hate it either.
This is incredibly atmospheric, I highly recommend reading it for fall. It has a good spooky vibe to it. I will warn though: it's very slow. That's actually its major flaw, it takes way too long to get to the point. But I've noticed, that's kind of a thing with magical realism. There is some interesting stuff here. Character dynamics were great. People finding ways around the Disappearances was interesting. I just kind of felt the ending was...a tad anti-climatic.
So I have very mixed feelings. On one hand it's a good atmospheric historical mystery that's right up my alley. There are things to like about it. On the other hand: it's painfully slow and drags and I'm not sure the ending was really worth it. So...yeah, I say this is worth a library read to see if it's for you but that's about it.
WHO SHOULD READ: Historical fiction fans, magical realism fans
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five spooky feeling books