Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Book Review: Beanstalker and Other Hilarious Scary Tales

TITLE: Beanstalker and Other Hilarious Scary Tales
AUTHOR: Kiersten White
CATEGORY: Middle-Grade
PUBLISHED: July 2017
GENRE: Fantasy, Fairy-tale mash-up
PREMISE: A retelling of various fairy-tales with some twists here and there...
MY REVIEW: I should probably give a bias warning: Kiersten White is a favorite author of mine. I've yet to read a book of hers I haven't enjoyed at least somewhat. Her stuff just kind of speaks to me, and this book is no exception. It is basically a fantasy parody with mash-ups of fairy tales with a slight horror bent. For instance, Goldilocks and the three bears. In this version, Goldilocks is a zombie hunter and the bears were actually zombies. Her breaking into the house was totally justified, guys!
There's Snow White, who turns out to be a mind-controlling monster (hence why the queen really put her into the coffin). Red Riding Hood turns out to be a vampire and so on. It basically just twists fairy-tales in unconventional ways and ties all of the tales together. It's all told with an hilarious narrator.
Because of the parody element, this probably won't appeal to everyone. But I personally loved it. If you know of tweens or anyone who enjoys middle-grade who is skeptical of the whole princess thing, they will probably like it too.
WHO SHOULD READ: fairy-tale mash-up fans, those who like fun twists on familiar stories
MY RATING: Four out of Five fun twisted fairy-tales

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

My Big Fat Recommendation List: G Authors

Here are all the books I recommend written by authors whose names start with the letter G:

Childrens/Middle-Grade Fiction

Neil Gaiman
The Graveyard Book

I, Coriander by Sally Gardner
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
The Mapmaker's Trilogy by S. E. Grove

Young Adult Fiction

Elusion Duology by Claudia Gabel
Caraval Trilogy by Stephanie Garber
Beautiful Creatures series by Kami Garcia and Margeret Stohl
Annie on my Mind by Nancy Garden

Whitney Gardner
You're Welcome, Universe
Chaotic Good

Princesses of Westfallen Trilogy by Jessica Day George
Stoker and Holmes series by Colleen Gleason
I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo

Ryan Graudin
The Walled City
Wolf by Wolf duology

Claudia Gray
Evernight series
Spellcaster Trilogy
Firebird series
Star Wars: Lost Stars

John Green
Looking for Alaska
An Abundance of Katherines
Paper Towns
Will Grayson, Will Grayson (co-written with David Levithan)
The Fault in Our Stars

The Girl at Midnight Trilogy by Melissa Grey
Masque of the Red Death Duology by Bethany Griffin
Warped by Maurissa Guibord

Adult Fiction

Contemporary/General Fiction

Difficult Women by Roxane Gay

Historical Fiction

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi


Neil Gaiman
Trigger Warnings: Short Fictions and Disturbances
American Gods Duology
The Ocean at the End of the Lane

The Princess Bride by William Goldman
Star Wars: Bloodline by Claudia Gray


North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell


Cormoran Strike series by Robert Galbraith (aka JK Rowling)
Body of Evidence series by Christopher Golden (I think this series is out of print now, but you should be able to find it at used bookstores or libraries)
Phryne Fisher series by Kerry Greenwood (also highly recommend the TV show version)


Neil Gaiman
The View From the Cheap Seats: Selected Non-Fiction
Norse Mythology

In the Great Green Room: The Brilliant Bold Life of Margaret Wise Brown by Amy Gary

Roxane Gay
Bad Feminist
Hunger: A Memoir of My Body

Letters to a Young Muslim by Omar Saif Ghobash
My Own Words by Ruth Bader Ginsburg
The Lost City of Z by David Grann
In the Country We Love: My Family Divided by Diane Giuerrero with Michelle Buford

Monday, July 9, 2018

Book Review: Before the Devil Breaks You

TITLE: Before the Devil Breaks You
Book 3 in the Diviners series
AUTHOR: Libba Bray
PUBLISHED: October 2017
GENRE: Historical Fantasy/Paranormal
PREMISE: The Diviners all come together for their training as their lives become more difficult and the enemy comes closer and closer...
MY REVIEW: I think I've been pretty up front about the fact that I adore this series. So it probably won't come as a surprise to any of you, that I adored this book.
As with the other books, the characters in this series are the best. I love how they all come together. I love the snark, I love how their personalities clash and also mesh well. I love the setting in this. Far too many historical novels that take place in the twenties focus on the glamour part of it. This book does that, but also points out all the gross stuff that went on during this time as well such as deep racism that still existed well after slavery had ended, sexism, classism, and a whole bunch of other funky things we tend to try and brush under the rug when we go on about the "good old days".
This was a phenomenal continuation. There were twists I wasn't expecting (and some that downright broke my heart, even though the twists were damn good), and it leaves on a big question mark. I'm sure we'll probably have to wait awhile for the next book in this series as well and I'm honestly okay with that. Just please, publishers: stop changing the damn covers.
WHO SHOULD READ: Libba Bray fans, those that have read the first two books
MY RATING: Four and a half out of Five almost perfect books (it was a tad slow in the beginning, that's the only reason it's not getting five full stars from me)

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Book Review: Geek Love

TITLE: Geek Love
AUTHOR: Katherine Dunn
GENRE: Contemporary
PREMISE: A slice of life sort of book documenting the lives of a family at a traveling carnival...
MY REVIEW: Oh literature crowd, sometimes I do not understand you and your taste. This is yet another one of those times. I've seen this book on all sorts of lists, hailed as super amazing and everything. So I was eager to read it. Unfortunately...I did not get into it. At all.
The writing is gorgeous. This is something the literature crowd does get right usually. They have an amazing ability to spot people with good prose. But here's the thing: just because something has good prose...that doesn't mean it's a good book. The prose here were lovely...the story...not so much. The characters were all jerks who I didn't enjoy spending any time with. There's emotional abuse and all sorts of messed up things happening here. The plot also moves at a snails pace. The ending leaves a lot to be desired as well. A lot of reviews I saw, said the ending was worth all the slowness of the book...I really don't agree with that assessment.
So yeah. I just don't get what people see in this book. All I saw was a book that had a great idea, but not such great execution. Which is a problem I find happens a lot in literature. But from what I can tell this is the kind of book people either really love or really hate. So I would not take my word for things and check it out of the library to see if it's for you.
WHO SHOULD READ: literature fans who don't mind slow books
MY RATING: Two and a half out of Five beautifully written, but boring books

Book Review: To Kill a Kingdom

TITLE: To Kill a Kingdom
AUTHOR: Alexandra Christo
PUBLISHED: March 6th, 2018
GENRE: Fantasy, Retelling
PREMISE: A retelling of the little mermaid where the mermaid actually becomes human so she can kill the prince...
MY REVIEW: I admit it, I was a bit skeptical going into this. Mermaid books and me, really do not get along as a rule. But to my surprise...I enjoyed it quite a bit. It is a tad generic. Sorry, but retellings of the Little Mermaid happen all the time. So I can't give it higher then four stars. But it is still a very readable and entertaining book.
My favorite part about this book, hands down, were the side characters. Particularly the Prince's crew. They were an utter delight. They snarked at each other, supported each other, it was all great. It gave me a lot of Six of Crows chosen family vibes. That's my weakness. So that had a lot to do with my enjoyment of the book. I always say: if your plot is not going to be the most original out there, make sure your characters are awesome so people want to stay and read it. And the author succeeded in that quite a bit.
This was just a fun, but also kind of angsty, entertaining read. It did exactly what it set out to do, and I think the author did a fairly good job on it. The fantasy debuts this year are doing a much better job then last year, I must say. I still say it needs to do better on the diversity/LGBTQ plus rep though. I'm hoping the success of Children of Blood and Bone (which I still need to read) gets the ball rolling on the diversity front at least.
WHO SHOULD READ: fans of the Little Mermaid, dark fantasy fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five solid retellings

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Book Review: Famous Last Words

TITLE: Famous Last Words
AUTHOR: Katie Alender
GENRE: Paranormal/Mystery
PREMISE: A girl moves to Hollywood as there's a serial killer on the loose and she's haunted by visions...
MY REVIEW: I read this pretty much right after reading Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall. As always with Alender: it's a fun and entertaining romp. This would make a great by the pool book (there's even a scene in it with a pool!). Quality wise...it's just okay.
The plot was decent. It kind of slowed in the middle. There was stuff going on with a female friend that I found incredibly unnecessary (and fed more into that whole "girl can't be real friends!" nonsense that seems to plague YA). The romance was...a little blah and felt forced. But the stuff with the ghosts and the mystery was pretty good. A little slow, but good.
This book just scratched my itch to read more ghost books. If you also have such a need, it's a good one to look into. Though if you're going to try Alender, I recommend starting with her Bad Girls trilogy first. After reading all her books now, I can safely say that's her best one.
WHO SHOULD READ: Katie Alender fans, those who just want fun ghost stories
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five ghosts bothering humans