Book Reviews

Grit – Book Review

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I received this book from the publisher, this in no way impacted my opinion of the novel. 

Grit by Gillian French follows Darcy as she deals with an “easy girl” reputation and the aftermath of the fact that her ex-best friend Rhiannon went missing the previous year. The story follows Darcy as she works the fields with her sister and cousin raking blue berries. Within this story line comes an interesting message because the owners of the fields always hire foreigners and outside help, which Darcy’s aunt seems to have an issue with when someone states that the migrants need the money:

“So do the people of this town. People who live here year round and pay their taxes.”

“You see about as many year round residents turning out for berry raking as you do ditch digging. It’s hard work, and most people don’t want to do it.” 

This made me smile, because it is the most true statement I have seen in a YA novel in a while. While the book had a few “hell yeah!” moments, something about French’s writing kind of muddled the important messages within the book. The plot felt a bit disconnected  at certain points, not just disconnected but it felt like there was A LOT happening with a lot of different characters which made me unfocused.

The writing was good, but I think some more editing could have been involved to make it better. Still I would say the story is a good mystery and I enjoyed it for the most part.

This book will be released on May 16th. I gave it three out of five metal horns!

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Book Reviews

Exit West – Book Review

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Summary: In a country teetering on the brink of civil war, two young people meet—sensual, fiercely independent Nadia and gentle, restrained Saeed. They embark on a furtive love affair and are soon cloistered in a premature intimacy by the unrest roiling their city. When it explodes, turning familiar streets into a patchwork of checkpoints and bomb blasts, they begin to hear whispers about doors—doors that can whisk people far away, if perilously and for a price. As the violence escalates, Nadia and Saeed decide that they no longer have a choice. Leaving their homeland and their old lives behind, they find a door and step through.

Exit West follows these characters as they emerge into an alien and uncertain future, struggling to hold on to each other, to their past, to the very sense of who they are. Profoundly intimate and powerfully inventive, it tells an unforgettable story of love, loyalty, and courage that is both completely of our time and for all time.

Review: The relevance of this book is why I decided to read it, and I kept reading because of the beautiful story. It’s poetic in a way I have never seen before. Exit West has an element that feels a bit like magical realism, but what was gripping was following Saeed and Nadia through their journey. Journey feels like too light of a word to use here though. The book isn’t very long and I flew through it. It’s heartbreaking, horrific, and motivating all in one go. The talks about refugees are so prevalent right now, especially here in Europe, and I have felt empathy beyond words for everything that’s been happening, but this book opened the flood gates. It may be a fictional story, but good fiction will further open our eyes to the truth that surrounds us.

This book got four out of five metal horns!

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Book Reviews

A Monster Calls – Book Review

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I bought a copy of A Monster Calls last year at a used book sale for 1 euro. It was the first Patrick Ness book I bought, but after reading this one, it certainly won’t be the last. It took me so long to finally pick this up and read it because sometimes when people hype up books too much my interest in them sort of wavers. I know I sound like a hipster that feels like they’re just not into anything mainstream, but the truth is I have had bad luck with overhyped books in the past, so I am always afraid that I am going to really hate something when all the hype is built up around it.

THIS IS A SPOILER FREE REVIEW

I was wrong in this case. A Monster Calls was an amazing story. It’s short and anything but sweet. The story follows Conor who is a 13 year old boy who wakes to find a monster outside of his window. The monster has seen the passing of time, as it is ancient and it has stories to tell. The Monster doesn’t wake just to tell Conor these stories, but to also get something from Conor in return–The truth! It’s a dark and twisted tale, and yet beautifully poetic. The idea for this story is actually from Siobhan Dowd, who passed away before being able to write the book herself, and so Patrick Ness finished it, and he did such a beautiful job with her idea.

It is heart wrenching and it will grip you in a way that not many books can. I loved it so much more than I ever expected to, and it made me so emotional while reading it. I think if you’re looking for something different to read, something that will touch your very soul, then you should give this a read.

I give A Monster Calls 5 out of 5 Metal Horns!!

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Books

The Dramedy of Book Twitter

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Man, I hope I write this in the best possible way. Intent  doesn’t mean shit if you trample over everything like a drunk giant. Get ready for a rant.

I haven’t updated my blog in a while because of LIFE. I already promised myself I wouldn’t apologize anymore for this. I started this for fun, and it will only continue to be that way as long as I don’t feel like I HAVE to update this place all the time. Sure I’d like to be more consistent with my blogging, but I am merely human and truthfully, I don’t give a shit what you think about my lack of updates.

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I have been active on Book Twitter and it’s kept me informed of all the book releases, conflicts, drama, and comedy. It’s also made me laugh, frown, and made me want to rip my hair out all in one go. That is the dramedy that is Book twitter. I follow some great people. They’re intelligent, they’re fierce, and they are also opinionated. I am here for all of it. I want to know what people think about different books. I want to see people point out when things bother them in a novel and I want to listen and learn.

Recently though something has made me want to throw books around. TWO things have crept up on book twitter like the plague. One of those is the super fangirls who attack like little trained minions whenever you comment on their favorite books or authors. You see it A LOT with Sarah J. Maas and Cassandra Clare fans, but also with JK Rowling and others. People have yet to learn that you may love something dearly but that does not mean the entire world will feel the same. I have yet to finish the throne of glass series and her other series. You can love those books till you’re blue in the face but if you call me an idiot for the fact that I don’t find them as interesting as you do, you’re not doing Maas any favors. Stop bitching at people for their opinions. Also, this goes for you people on the other side of the coin too, whether you just didn’t enjoy the story or find it problematic don’t tell people they are morons for reading it. I am at fault for this too once or twice but I am learning how to just let people enjoy things.

The second thing that’s crept up on book twitter, is the conflicting and hypocritical talks about problematic content in books. To clarify, I absolutely stand with people reserving the right to call authors out on their problematic content. I think if something is bothersome to you, there is a way to reach out and speak politely and openly with an author about it. Being more critical of the books you are reading is a good thing. What has bothered me is that the same people who were out there with pitchforks, yelling for the book The Continent to be reedited because of its problematic content, are seemingly okay with Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth who’s book apparently has similar problematic content. Not only is the issue similar, the authors’ explanations and “apologies” are similar too and yet only one of them has their book on hold, and the other one was on the NYT best sellers list. I will let you guess which one.

I haven’t read either one, but I am commenting on the hypocritical bullshit that comes out of book twitter quite often these days. I think diversity is important, But I also think a lot of the white people yelling about diversity use the term loosely and only use it when it suits them. Many of them were ready to stand up for Roth when just a few months ago they were vowing to burn copies of The Continent. Diversity and respect for marginalized voices isn’t a bag of trail mix, you can’t just pick and choose the parts you like.

I like the book community and especially book twitter, but there are some aspects of it that have started to mold the way I read things and what I choose to read. I think I would have continued with the Throne of Glass series had the overly aggressive fans not annoyed the shit out of me. I had no interest in reading Carve the Mark or The Continent but now because people have been such hypocrites about these two books, I want to read them so I can compare and contrast and form my own educated opinion.

I think a lot of the Book Twitter drama could be minimized if we could all just stop calling each other names and respected one another. I think people need to start thinking before jumping on the mob mentality that takes over twitter sometimes, and I really do think we need to let people enjoy things. Truth is a person can find something problematic but still enjoy its entertainment value, and I don’t see an issue with that.

This of course is MY opinion, and you may not share the same view, but please comment down below and share it anyway.

Book Reviews

History is All You Left Me – Book Review

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This book was sent to me by the publisher as an eARC, this in no way influenced my opinion on the novel.

History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera took me by surprise. In the best and yet most emotional way possible. This is a SPOILER FREE review so please feel free to continue reading. It follows Griffin who’s first love and ex-boyfriend Theo died in a drowning accident. This breaks Griffin apart as expected. The story bounces back and forth between the present where Griffin is dealing with his grief, and to the past (history) where his relationship with Theo grew and blossomed.

I loved this style of going between the past and present. This story also shows Griffin’s struggle with mental illness. This hit home for me. When I was 14 I had to deal with a form of grief I had never experienced before, and it shot my anxiety to places I could never put into words, but Adam Silvera certainly tried for me. People deal with Grief in very different ways, and when you experience something of that magnitude at a young age, it stays with you forever. Surely it stays with you at any age, but when you are young and you feel so invincible … it strikes you down hard.

At the core of this novel is a story about friendship, love, and loss. Adam Silvera writes in a way that makes you truly believe these aren’t just characters in a novel but real people. I love that so much because I could feel what these characters were going through. The way Griffin and Theo come together and how they’re torn apart feels so real that it hurt my soul to read it. In the end this novel is also about healing.

This took me on one hell of a ride, and if you haven’t read this book, then I don’t know what you are waiting for. It may seem like a heart breaking story, and yes it is, but it’s just so much more than that. The themes and messages in this novel are incredible.

Originally I had given this novel 4 stars on Goodreads, but it’s been a couple of days since I read it, and I just keep thinking about it and that’s a sign of an important book. I changed my rating on there.

This novel gets 5 out of 5 Metal Horns from me!

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Book Reviews

Beheld – Book Review

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This book was sent to me by the publisher, this in no way influenced my opinion on the novel.

Beheld by Alex Flinn seems to be the fourth novel in the Kendra Chronicles series of novels where Flinn mixes fairy tale retellings with the story of the witch Kendra. I actually was unaware that this was the fourth novel in the series but it doesn’t seem like I missed much of anything by skipping the others. (by all means do correct me if I am wrong) I will make this a spoiler free review as most of mine are, but I have a couple of minor issues with this story.

I found it to be dull or at least slow moving at first, and then I was entertained enough to keep reading. As I did so, I found a couple of things that were making me roll my eyes a bit. This book contains the retellings of Little Red Riding Hood, Rumplestiltskin, East of the Sun and West of the Moon, and The Ugly Duckling. All interwoven with the story of Kendra, so she makes in appearance one way or another in each one, but in my opinion it is done in such a  haphazardly way that I could have just done with the four retellings without Kendra being involved. Kendra is always an after thought, a cut and paste within the four retellings.

I also didn’t really enjoy the retellings that contained the desperate woman who couldn’t live without her man, and this mirrored Kendra’s incessant need to look for her long lost love. This certainly made me roll my eyes, because Kendra otherwise comes off as a strong character, but then she’s pining for this man constantly. Maybe that’s someone’s cup of tea, but shit like this gives me Twilight feels, and that makes me twitch.

I enjoyed the last retelling of the Ugly Duckling. It had a bit of a deeper story running through it and possibly saved this novel from getting 2 stars. Then we end with Kendra and I rolled my eyes again, making me want to give it closer to 2.5 rather than a 3, but I didn’t hate the book, it just isn’t the typical story I enjoy, also maybe I am tired of the retellings. This book is out in stores tomorrow Jan.10th. If you love retellings, you will enjoy this book.

This book gets 3 out of 5 metal horns from me.

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Books, Uncategorized

Top Ten Books I Read in 2016

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When you read 102 books in a year it’s quite difficult to narrow it down to your top ten, but I tried. Some had to be sacrificed but it doesn’t mean I loved them any less. The ones on this list just seemed to stand out a little bit more than the rest. I won’t be putting any spoilers for any of these novels anywhere, so you can continue safely.

10.Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

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This book is a historical fiction novel surrounding Lithuania during World War II. It tore me apart and made me feel all kinds of emotions while reading it. If you like Historical Fiction, then I highly recommend this one, but be prepared to cry. It is being made into a movie as well.

9. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

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This is another historical fiction novel based around World War II. Yes, I like to read World War historical fiction, not because I find it entertaining, but because I think as the living memory of the atrocities that occurred during that time begins to fade away, it is important to remind ourselves how ugly the human spirit can become. Whether you do it through non fiction or fictional stories does not matter, as long as you walk away feeling that these matters and this side of history should never repeat. This book should hit that message right on the head.

8. Half a War by Joe Abercrombie

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This was the third and final book in the Shattered Sea series, which was one of my absolute favorite fantasy series of 2016. The characters are quite unique, and so is the story itself. I was amazed at the wonderful writing, and I will be checking out more of Joe’s books this year.

7.Vicious by V.E. Schwab

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V.E. Schwab has become one of my absolute favorite writers in a very short amount of time. Her passion for writing incredible stories, is really what captured me right off the bat. Her books are what kept me hooked. This is one of three books on this list this year, and I am not ashamed to say that I am an absolute fangirl. Vicious was unique and crazy as hell. I can’t wait for the sequel!

6. The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis

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I received this book from the publisher and I wasn’t really sure what to expect going in, but what I got was a powerful story about rape culture in today’s society. It will rip your heart to shreds, but it is such an important read in this day and age.

5. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

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This book will be released next month Feb.28th and I HIGHLY recommend that you go out and buy it when it releases. The story is inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, and it is such a poignant novel. Starr is the main character and you follow her as she tries to balance her life between the poor neighborhood she lives in, and the prep school in a suburban predominantly white area that she attends. She then is the sole witness to a friend’s fatal shooting by a police, sending the story into a rollercoaster of emotions. I loved this book so very much, and hope you will check it out.

4. American Street by Ibi Zoboi

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If you have ever experienced being an immigrant in a new country, then this story will resonate with you for weeks on end. It follows Fabiola as she goes from Haiti to the United States and how she struggles with how to fit in with this new American lifestyle, but still keeping who she is alive. There is so much more in this powerful story, with a small touch of magical realism. It will be released on Feb.14th and you should certainly check it out!

3.This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

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I told you there was going to be more Schwab novels on this list. This Savage Song is a beautiful book about monstrous things. The most wonderful thing about this book for me was there wasn’t some instalove, or silly love triangle trope. In fact there wasn’t any romance at all. But a friendship that was being built from circumstance into something awesome. I am looking forward to the sequel!

2. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

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This may have a ton of haters out there, but I am not one of them. Since I cannot see the play anytime soon, I read the script and thought it was an incredibly fun ride. The twists and turns were insane, but it was nice to be back in a world that I love and miss so much.

1.A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab

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NO SURPRISE HERE! A Gathering of Shadows was my absolute favorite book of 2016. It is even one of my faves of all time! Schwab has created amazing characters that are still crawling around in my mind. I really can’t wait for the conclusion of this trilogy to be released, as bittersweet as it will be for me. A Conjuring of Light is my most anticipated novel of 2017 and it will be released next month!