Monday, September 24, 2018

Book Review: Crazy Rich Asians

TITLE: Crazy Rich Asians
Book 1 in the Crazy Rich Asians trilogy
AUTHOR: Kevin Kwan
GENRE: Romance, Contemporary
PREMISE: A woman finds out the man she is dating is in fact a member of one of the richest families in Singapore....
MY REVIEW: Unless you've been living under a rock or something, chances are high you've at least heard about Crazy Rich Asians. The movie has been big this summer. I saw it, and honestly, I get the hype. Seriously, the movie is gold, go see it if you adore rom coms or any kind of family drama stuff.
I read the book right before seeing the movie it was honestly just as delightful. I will warn, the not the best. It kind of jumps from POV to POV and is awkward in some places. But the characterization, the self-aware humor, and entertaining family drama all make up for it. There's also some pretty interesting commentary on things like classism, racism, and various other topics. I also actually liked the footnotes. They provided some interesting information that I wasn't aware of. So not only are you getting an entertaining read, you actually get some interesting tidbits about Singapore and its culture.
So count me in on the Crazy Rich Asians hype train. I can't wait to read the rest of the books and see the sequel, whenever we get it. Also: if you have not seen the To All the Boys I've Loved Before movie so. It's wonderful.
WHO SHOULD READ: Rom com fans, Jenny Han fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five wacky families

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Book Review: Most Wanted

TITLE: Most Wanted
Part of the Star Wars canon books
AUTHOR: Rae Carson
PUBLISHED: May 25th, 2018
GENRE: Sci-Fi, Media tie-in
PREMISE: Set before the Solo movie, this book goes into how Han and Qi'ra became partners...
MY REVIEW: I saw the Solo movie a few months ago in theaters. It was perfectly decent movie. Completely unnecessary, as are most prequels, but it was a decent film.
This book is pretty on par with most of the new Star Wars books: not necessary to read, but a good time if you're pining for more Star Wars in between the films/TV shows. They also give some nice supplemental info. I actually kind of feel like this gave us some better background on Han, then the movie did. It also gave Qi'ra some much better development, as well.
If you read Star Wars books on regular basis, you know what to expect from this one: lots of action and adventure. It's very fast-paced (I finished it in like, two sittings). If you liked the Solo movie, but maybe wanted some more info on the characters, this is a good one to pick to pick up. There's also one out there about young Lando, so I'll probably look into that one as well.
WHO SHOULD READ: Star Wars fans
MY RATING: Three out of Five space races

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Book Review: Undead Girl Gang

TITLE: Undead Girl Gang
AUTHOR: Lily Anderson
PUBLISHED: May 8th, 2018
GENRE: Urban Fantasy. Mystery
PREMISE: A girl raises her best friend back from the dead to find out how she died, but...she winds up bringing back two other girls as well.
MY REVIEW: I normally am not interested in zombies. I don't know why, but they just honestly bore me. There's usually not really much you can do with them. But this one interested me, because there was a mystery and female friendship attached to to it.
For the most part, it's a fun ride. You have to suspend a lot of disbelief while reading it. The main character is a bit prickly, but I personally enjoyed her. But I find all the characters the YA crowd deem "unlikable", are characters whom I wind up liking a lot. Go figure. If you were picking this up because you heard rumblings about there being "great" LGBT rep...there really isn't. The rep is just two adult female side characters who barely get any screen time and it's just mentioned that they're in a relationship. I found them interesting, and would honestly love a book about them. But I'm not sure why it was advertised as great rep as honestly...the characters don't really do anything.
That disappointing bit aside, this was a decent read. I particularly liked where the mystery went. After this, I went and picked up Lily Anderson's debut book, and wound up loving that one as well. The review is coming soon. I think I have a new author to enjoy now.
WHO SHOULD READ: Buffy fans, those looking for books with witches/zombies
MY RATING: Four out of Five female friendships

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Classic Book Review: A Separate Peace

TITLE: A Separate Peace
AUTHOR: John Knowles
CATEGORY: Young Adult (sort of)
GENRE: Historical Fiction
PREMISE: A man remembers his time in school during WWII.
MY THOUGHTS: Sigh. This is yet another book in what I'm beginning to think is a sub-genre: Old (usually white and straight) guy thinks back on one memorable thing from his childhood. I've stumbled across so many literature books that do this and...honestly dudes? I'm sorry, but your childhood is not as interesting as you think it is. This one had all the problems that books that do this idea have:'s dull.
I get what the author was doing with it. War is hell, it effects us all, even those not in the war, etc. etc. Probably also some metaphors for losing your innocence as well. This is not a difficult novel to grasp or even to read. Which is probably why it winds up on reading lists for schools all the time. But personally, I suspect this is better read as an adult. I have no doubt that teenage me would have hated this. Adult me....didn't enjoy it, but appreciates what the author was trying to do.
I just, for the life of me, couldn't get into this one. Yet another classic that is just not for me.
WHO SHOULD READ: literature fans, those that don't mind slow-paced books

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

My Big Fat Recommendation List: J Authors

Here are all the authors whose books I recommend whose last name starts with the letter J:


Diane Wynne Jones
Chrestomanci series
Enchanted Glass

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

Young Adult Fiction

Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson

Michele Jaffe
Bad Kitty duology
Ghost Flower

Juliet Immortal by Stacey Jay (there is a second book, but it's honestly kind of bad. Just read the first)
The Reformed Vampire Support Group by Catherine Jinks

Alaya Dawn Johnson
The Summer Prince
Love is the Drug

Maureen Johnson
13 Little Blue Envelopes
Suite Scarlett duology
Shades of London series
Truly Devious series

Star Wars: Ahsoka by E.K. Johnston
Need Series by Carrie Jones

Diane Wynne Jones
Howl's Moving Castle series
The Game
Dark Lord of Derkholm

Adult Fiction

Contemporary/Historical Fiction
An American Marriage by Tayari Jones


N. K. Jemisin
Inheritance Trilogy
Broken Earth Trilogy

Queen of the Tearling Trilogy by Erika Johansen


Lab Girl by Hope Jahren
The Empathy Exams: Essays by Leslie Jamison
Being Jazz: My Life as a (Transgender) Teen by Jazz Jennings
Here We Are: Feminism For the Real World by various authors, edited by Kelly Jenson
This Will Be My Undoing: Living at the Intersection of Black, Female, and Feminist in (White) America by Morgan Jerkins
The Tough Guide to Fantasyland by Diane Wynne Jones

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Book Review: Not If I Save You First

TITLE: Not If I Save You First
AUTHOR: Ally Carter
PUBLISHED: March 27th, 2018
GENRE: Contemporary/Romance
PREMISE: A girl needs to save the President's son from getting kidnapped. Too bad she hates the boy's guts.
MY REVIEW: I am pretty much always up for an Ally Carter book. Her books are just fun. This short standalone is no exception. It's a nice breezy pace, with lots of action, just enough detail, and a satisfying story.
It just...wasn't as good as I've seen her do. It's not bad! Again, I enjoyed it. If you're looking for a quick, cute, read, it's a good pick. If you want something with a little more substance though....I'd look elsewhere. This also isn't as good as some of her previous work. I kind of get the sense that it was just written to meet a contract requirement. But at least it was fun. It also apparently takes place in the same world as Gallagher Girls/Heist Society as there's a bit of a reference to one of the spy schools.
So, not the best book ever. But if you just want a quick read with a fun main character, this is a good one to pick up.
WHO SHOULD READ: Ally Carter fans
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five bedazzled hammers

Monday, September 10, 2018

Book Review: Aru Shah and the End of Time

TITLE: Aru Shah and the End of Time
Book 1 in the Pandava Quartet series
AUTHOR: Rhoshani Chokshi
PUBLISHED: March 27th, 2018
CATEGORY: Middle-grade
GENRE: Fantasy
PREMISE: A girl goes on a quest after she accidentally causes time to freeze after lighting a lamp....
MY REVIEW: I have been meaning to read this for awhile now. I adore Rick Riordan's books, and this new imprint he has going on with his publisher is frankly awesome. I want to read every book that he has previewed so far. Sadly, some of them don't come out until 2020 ;pouts;
If they are anything like this though, we're in for some good stuff, guys. This is very Percy Jackson like, so I understand why Riordan picked it for his imprint. But it does its own thing. I confess...I don't really know anything about the poem that this book is drawing inspiration from. So I can't tell you how well Chokshi is using the mythology or anything like that. I can tell you, she spins an entertaining story, with delightful protagonists.
This is a great start to a new series. The ending is very interesting and I can't wait to see what happens next.
WHO SHOULD READ: Percy Jackson fans, Rhoshani Chokshi fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five sassy birds

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Book Review: Freshwater

TITLE: Freshwater
AUTHOR: Akwaeke Emezi
PUBLISHED: February 13th, 2018
GENRE: Er....Magical Realism...I guess?
PREMISE: A young woman grows up with different selves living inside of her...
MY REVIEW: You ever read a book, think to yourself "Like...I'm sensing this is a really good book...but I'm not getting it at all?" Well, that is me and Freshwater. I feel like I maybe needed more information on some sort of myths or something in order to enjoy this. Because I mostly just read this book, feeling confused as hell through out the whole thing.
I'm honestly not sure if this is the fault of the book or just me not giving it the attention it needed or something. The writing is fine, I get what is going on. I just don't understand the why of what's going on. I feel like there's some sort of piece of the puzzle that I'm missing and that kept me from getting fully invested in the book.
I will say, the writing is lovely. There are some gorgeous lines here and there in it. The story however is just weird and doesn't seem to go anywhere. But according to literature people, it did go somewhere. So...I guess I just missed something.
WHO SHOULD READ: Um....not sure, really, literature fans maybe?
MY RATING: Three out of five I just don't get you books