Saturday, April 28, 2018

Book Review: When They Call You a Terrorist

TITLE: When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir
AUTHOR: Patrisse Khan-Cullors and asha bandele
CATEGORY: Non-Fiction
PUBLISHED: January 16th, 2018
GENRE: Memoir
PREMISE: One of the leading voices in the Black Lives Matter movement tells her story and uses stories from her life to talk about racism and other important subjects.
MY REVIEW: If you read the title of this book and your first thought is "ugh, ALL lives matter" or some such nonsense....This book will not be for you. Also, honestly, my blog will probably not be for you. So...bye. This is a very niche sort of book. It is probably going to appeal to very specific type of people. Namely activists, those interested in the Black Lives Matter movement, or allies such as myself trying to educate ourselves more etc.
Memoir wise, this is pretty typical stuff. The author shares multiple stories about her family and helps you understand the motivations driving the Black Lives Matter movement. It also sets some records straight on the movement itself and some very common misconceptions people have about it. Seriously guys, it's not a terrorist group. Get the hell over that idea, please.
Memoir wise, it's pretty average. It does however give a lot of insight to helping understand the motivations around the founding of the Black Lives Matter movement.
WHO SHOULD READ: those interested, people who are curious about learning more about the Black Lives Matter movement
MY RATING: Four out of Five interesting reads

Friday, April 27, 2018

Book Review: Renegades

TITLE: Renegades
Book 1 in the Renegades series
AUTHOR: Marissa Meyer
PUBLISHED: November 2017
GENRE: Superhero, Urban Fantasy
PREMISE: In a world where superheros and villains are all over the place, Nova infiltrates the superhero group known as The Renegades, with the hopes of taking them down from the inside...
MY REVIEW: When I heard that Meyer was doing superheros, I was both really excited and super nervous. This was different then her usual retelling thing, so this would be a test to see if she can do other things and I'm happy to say: she absolutely can. Renegades was a highly enjoyable read.
This has all of the things I've come to associate with Meyer: lots of action, fun characters, snappy dialogue, interesting setting, and just a nice breezy pace. The set-up for the world is nicely done. The characters...could use some work, but it's a first book so I'm expecting that we'll get much more development for things down the road. There's twists galore and even a romance I actually don't mind because it's actually realistic about the chances of the romance in this world and the circumstances that the characters are in.
Personally, I loved this one. Meyer completely sold me on it and I can't wait for the next books in this series. It does what it set out to do: entertain. No, it's not ground-breaking or super duper unique. But not every book has to be that. I honestly think people have forgotten that things don't have to be super amazing to be a enjoyable read. Sorry, I made the mistake of reading Goodreads reviews again. I really have to stop that. They just put me into rant mode.
WHO SHOULD READ: Marissa Meyer fans, superhero fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five fun books

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Graphic Novel Review: Are You My Mother?

TITLE: Are You My Mother?
AUTHOR: Alison Bechdel
CATEGORY: Graphic Novel
GENRE: Memoir
PREMISE: The author/artist of the graphic novel Fun Home returns with more stories, this time going into her relationship with her mother.
MY REVIEW: A few years ago I read Fun Home. It was my first foray into graphic novel memoirs and honestly my first time, in awhile, reading graphic novels because I had stopped reading them all together at one point.
This one is honestly more of the same of Fun Home. It goes into Bechdel's family issues, this time centering on her mother. Well, partly on her mother. There is also some stuff thrown in about her own personal issues in therapy, with her writing/art, and in her own personal relationship. All of it ties back to her mother in some way though. So the mother/daughter relationship is important here.
I was fine with it. It's very typical graphic novel memoir stuff. There was interesting looks into psychology and how parents can shape you and how you deal with the world and whatnot. It wasn't as engrossing as Fun Home, but it was still a nice read.
WHO SHOULD READ: fans of Fun Home, memoir fans,
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five shrugs

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Book Review: Beloved

TITLE: Beloved
AUTHOR: Toni Morrison
GENRE: Historical Fiction, Paranormal
PREMISE: A family lives in a place haunted by ghosts...
MY REVIEW: I know what some of you are thinking: You haven't read Beloved????!!!! No, I haven't, until now. Remember: Bible Belt education. Teachers only taught books by straight dead white guys in my school. So I've missed out on a lot of stuff as a result. Toni Morrison was one of those things.
Now having read Beloved, I get it. I really do. Her writing is fantastic. She also does not hold back. If you are squeamish about dark subjects, her books will probably not be for you. Her books (or at least Beloved. I haven't read the rest yet, but they now are all on my list) are brutal and honest. She also doesn't care if you get hurt feelings from her criticism of white people. As a result, this gives you a LOT to think about. Like all literature, to some extent, it covers a lot of topics (and sometimes does meander in the middle).
I wouldn't call Beloved an enjoyment read. It's way too dense and dark for that. I pretty much guarantee that at one point, you will be uncomfortable about something. But it is a good read, and one I will happily be pushing into the hands of anyone interested. Also, I especially recommend reading this, after reading Gone With the Wind. It's the perfect antidote for all the romanticizing that that book does.
WHO SHOULD READ: Toni Morrison fans, Maya Angelou fans, anyone interested
MY RATING: Four and a half out of Five brutally good books

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Book Review: Sightwitch

TITLE: Sightwitch
Prequel book to the Witchlands series
AUTHOR: Susan Dennard
PUBLISHED: February 13th, 2018
GENRE: Fantasy
PREMISE: A companion story to the Witchlands series that goes into the history of the Witchlands world...
MY REVIEW: This book was...not really what I was expecting to be honest. I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing. It just took me by surprise. I was expecting it to be written like the series. It does have the setting and the great focus on female characters, like the series does. But this is told through various journal entries and various other ways. It's very visual, so I don't recommend going for the audio version, if there is one out there.
As it is also a novella, it is shorter then the other books and goes by much quicker. If you don't read this one, you probably won't miss out on anything major. It just is mostly a nice deep dive into the magic system and gives some background info that might make your reading of the other books more interesting.
If you are a huge fan of the series, definitely pick this one up. At the very least, it helps with the waiting for the next book. Which is not coming out until 2019 now. ;pouts;
WHO SHOULD READ: fans of the Witchlands series
MY RATING: Four out of Five nice, but not terribly necessary, prequels

Friday, April 20, 2018

Book Review: Long May She Reign

TITLE: Long May She Reign
AUTHOR: Rhiannon Thomas
PUBLISHED: February 2017
GENRE: Fantasy, Mystery
PREMISE: A girl becomes a queen suddenly, when all the people who were in line for the throne before her are killed at once.
MY REVIEW: You ever wonder what Designated Survivor would be like if it were a fantasy instead of in a contemporary setting? Well, this book, basically answers that question. Because that honestly is all this book is: a gender-flipped Designated Survivor in a fantasy setting.
There's nothing wrong with it. It has a decent plot going, some nice character growth, and all the usual trappings of a YA fantasy. It's just really generic, so there's nothing really to set it apart from all the other several YA fantasy books out there.
If you like Designated Survivor, and that premise intrigues you then this is a good one to pick up. But if you're not interested in probably won't miss out on anything by not reading it.
WHO SHOULD READ: Rhiannon Thomas fans, Designated Survivor fans
MY RATING: Three out of Five generic fantasies

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Book Review: The Glass Spare

TITLE: The Glass Spare
Book 1 in the Glass Spare series
AUTHOR: Lauren DeStefano
PUBLISHED: October 2017
GENRE: Fantasy
PREMISE: A girl gets a dangerous gift and has to leave her life behind as she seeks to get rid of it...
MY REVIEW: I have very mixed feelings when it comes Lauren DeStefano. I think prose wise, she's great. She manages to write absorbing tales. She also has some very interesting ideas. She's just bad when it comes to delivering on that clever premise. She gets a good start but when you get to the ending it's kind of like "really? That's it?" For a prime example of this let down, see The Chemical Garden trilogy. I still roll my eyes at some of the flimsy reasoning that went on in that trilogy.
So with that in mind, I'm cautiously into this trilogy. It is a very nicely done world. As always with DeStefano, the premise is interesting. It's very absorbing and has all those things that on another author, would make me really look forward to the next books.
But this is DeStefano. So...I'm going to read the next books, but...I'm not going to expect much from them. I'm sorry, I've been burned too many times by this author for me to hail this serious as a major break through yet. She's very good at starting series and getting people hooked. When it comes to endings however....yeah. But hey, who knows, maybe this series will surprise me. I really hope it does. But in the meantime, I can't give this more then an average rating because I don't know what the series will come to be.
WHO SHOULD READ: Lauren DeStefano fans, fantasy fans
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five good starts, but we'll see how it goes books

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Book Review: Foolish Hearts

TITLE: Foolish Hearts
AUTHOR: Emma Mills
PUBLISHED: December 2017
GENRE: Contemporary, Romance
PREMISE: A girl's quiet life is turned upside down after she accidentally overhears the breakup of the school's most popular couple and is thrown into a production of the school's play.
MY REVIEW: This book took me completely by surprise and I love it when books do that. It came in my OwlCrate and I honestly wasn't expecting much from it. But I wound up loving the hell out of it.
So many things about this made me happy: it's diverse, the popular couple that breaks up is actually two girls and no one in the school cares. It takes place at an all girls school and there's no catty "girls can't be friends" nonsense. The male love interest is not a douchebag! I actually wanted her and the guy to get together. That's always a nice change. There's great female friendship and it just rings so many bells for me.
This actually kind of gave me a lot of Becky Albertalli vibes. If you are pining for Leah on the Offbeat to come out like I am, this might be a good book to pick up in the meantime. It's not a groundbreaking book by any means. But it is just a nice breezy contemporary romance with fun characters that give you a good time. I will definitely be checking out more of Emma Mills stuff in the future.
WHO SHOULD READ: Emma Mills fans, Becky Albertalli fans, those that want cute contemporaries
MY RATING: Four and a half out of Five enjoyable as hell books

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Book Review: Batman-Nightwalker

TITLE: Batman: Nightwalker
DC Icons series Book 2
AUTHOR: Marie Lu
PUBLISHED: January 2nd, 2018
GENRE: Media tie-in/Superhero, Mystery
PREMISE: A young Bruce Wayne gets caught up in a mystery....
MY REVIEW: I have deep fondness for Batman. One of the first superhero things I ever got involved in was the Batman: The Animated Series. I got hooked on that show, then the Superman animated show and JLU and soon, I was checking out the comics they were based on. Nowadays, I am more of a Marvel girl. But Batman and his neverending angst will always hold an important piece of my heart. He is basically what got me into comics.
So I went into this cautiously. I wound up actually really enjoying it. Like the Wonder Woman book by Leigh Bardugo, it ignores comic continuity. So if you're hoping for teenage Bruce in the seventies or whatever, this will not be your thing (which is sad, I'd really like to see an historical take on Batman and how historical events may have shaped Bruce). But it is a believable look at Bruce as a teenager. One of my particular favorite parts was Alfred. But this is not surprising. Alfred is always my favorite. As far as I'm concerned, he's MVP in the Batman family. I'm pretty damn sure Bruce does not pay him enough for the shit he puts up with.
If you're looking for a absolutely amazing Batman story...this one isn't really up there. There are better ones in the comics. But if you like the Gotham TV show and want to see more angsty teenage Bruce Wayne. This one absolutely delivers. Plot wise it's a little meh (especially in the unnecessary romance part) but overall, this felt like a teenage Bruce Wayne and at the end of the day, that's kind of my only expectation with these DC Icons books: that they at least feel like the teenage versions of the characters they're supposed to be. For those wondering: the next DC Icons book is going to be Catwoman, written by Sarah J. Maas. I'm...not certain how that will work out (I have mixed feelings about Maas, to be honest). But I will still be checking it out.
WHO SHOULD READ: Batman fans, fans of Wonder Woman: Warbringer
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five angsty teenage caped crusaders