Book Reviews

Grit – Book Review

GRIT

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!

ratethree

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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Books

Try a Chapter – March

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Try a Chapter is a tag that was going around Booktube for a while, and I decided to bring it over to the blog. Every month I will pick four books, read the first chapter in each, and decide what I will read next. This month I picked four books I have been meaning to start, but February was a terrible reading month for me. I was in one of my worst reading slumps I have ever been in, and I am still trying to fully shake it off.

Here are the four books I read the first chapter of, and read till the end to discover which book I decided to read next. I try not to give away too much in my thoughts on the first chapters I read.

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

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Summary: Prentisstown isn’t like other towns. Everyone can hear everyone else’s thoughts in an overwhelming, never-ending stream of Noise. Just a month away from the birthday that will make him a man, Todd and his dog, Manchee — whose thoughts Todd can hear too, whether he wants to or not — stumble upon an area of complete silence. They find that in a town where privacy is impossible, something terrible has been hidden — a secret so awful that Todd and Manchee must run for their lives.

1st Chapter has 14 pages

Thoughts: At first the chapter started off and I was instantly a little confused, that quickly went away. Todd is the last boy in a town that has no women, and only men. His 13th birthday is nearing and that is when he officially becomes a man. There was some kind of germ that killed off all the women and gave the men the ability to hear everyone’s thoughts. In this first chapter, as Todd is out with his dog, he discovered a hole, or a silence in the noise he’s been living in. It feels really weird, but I love Patrick Ness’ writing so much! I am really interested in finding out what this silence actually is.

Wolf By Wolf by Ryan Graudin

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Summary: Her story begins on a train.

The year is 1956, and the Axis powers of the Third Reich and Imperial Japan rule. To commemorate their Great Victory, Hitler and Emperor Hirohito host the Axis Tour: an annual motorcycle race across their conjoined continents. The victor is awarded an audience with the highly reclusive Adolf Hitler at the Victor’s Ball in Tokyo.

Yael, a former death camp prisoner, has witnessed too much suffering, and the five wolves tattooed on her arm are a constant reminder of the loved ones she lost. The resistance has given Yael one goal: Win the race and kill Hitler. A survivor of painful human experimentation, Yael has the power to skinshift and must complete her mission by impersonating last year’s only female racer, Adele Wolfe. This deception becomes more difficult when Felix, Adele twin’s brother, and Luka, her former love interest, enter the race and watch Yael’s every move.

But as Yael grows closer to the other competitors, can she bring herself to be as ruthless as she needs to be to avoid discovery and complete her mission?

1st Chapter – 7 pages

Thoughts: The beginning is intense. Yael is on a train with her mother and tons of other people. Not a regular train, but one meant for transport of objects and not people. She’s huddled close to her mother when the doors fly open and they’re being yelled at. Yael gets picked out of the crowd for an experiment. She’s only 6 years old. It’s definitely left a mark on me, and I love historical fiction especially when it’s an alternate history kind of tale.

The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin

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Summary: A season of endings has begun. It starts with the great red rift across the heart of the world’s sole continent, from which enough ash spews to darken the sky for years. Or centuries.

It starts with death, with a murdered son and a missing daughter.

It starts with betrayal, and long dormant wounds rising up to fester.

And it ends with you. You are the Stillness, a land long familiar with catastrophe, where orogenes wield the power of the earth as a weapon and are feared far more than the long cold night. And you will have no mercy.

Prologue – 14 Pages

Thoughts: The prologue jumps around a bit, but this story is beautifully written. You jump around and get introduced to different aspects of what is happening, which I imagine will be important knowledge to have moving forward. I glanced at the beginning of the actual first chapter and noticed it is written in second person point of view. I am not a huge fan of this point of view, but with the way the prologue kicked off it feels like a fresh way to write this fantasy novel.

The Way of Kings: Part One by Brandon Sanderson

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Summary: SPEAK AGAIN THE ANCIENT OATHS,

LIFE BEFORE DEATH.
STRENGTH BEFORE WEAKNESS.
JOURNEY BEFORE DESTINATION.

AND RETURN TO MEN THE SHARDS THEY ONCE BORE.

THE KNIGHTS RADIANT MUST STAND AGAIN.

Roshar is a world of stone and storms. Uncanny tempests of incredible power sweep across the rocky terrain so frequently that they have shaped ecology and civilization alike. Animals hide in shells, trees pull in branches, and grass retracts into the soilless ground. Cities are built only where the topography offers shelter.

It has been centuries since the fall of the ten consecrated orders known as the Knights Radiant, but their Shardblades and Shardplate remain: mystical swords and suits of armor that transform ordinary men into near-invincible warriors. Men trade kingdoms for Shardblades. Wars are fought for them, and won by them.

One such war is about to swallow up a soldier, a brightlord and a young woman scholar.

Prologue – 16 Pages

Thoughts: Well this wouldn’t be a Sanderson novel without a long chapter, or in this case prologue. The prologue kicks off at some kind of feast, and the character we are following is wearing white, which he was told to do even though he’s on a mission to kill. The idea of wearing white is you give your enemy a chance of seeing you coming in for the kill. It has really gripped me, but the issue is that this is just Part One of the first full book, and I am not sure I can make the commitment at this very moment to jump into a Sanderson book.

Decision: This was really difficult because every single book I chose to try a chapter for sounds amazing. I have decided on Wolf by Wolf though, mainly because I am only now slowly getting out of a reading slump, and the others are bigger undertakings and commitments right now, but I AM going to read the others after this. Such incredible choices!!

Till next month!!

 

Books

Book World Tour

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Recently I went on Twitter and asked for recommendations for authors that aren’t American. Not because I dislike American authors, but because I want to learn more about different countries and cultures and just be able to find brilliant writers from all over the world. The tweet was semi-popular and I GREATLY appreciate the people who took the time to respond, but in the interest of full disclosure, I was also extremely disappointed. I only received recs for authors that are from Canada, UK, or Australia, Most of which were already familiar to me.

This is no ones fault but my own because I wasn’t really clear about what I wanted and what I was personally looking for. So here is my clarification:

I want to create a list of books and authors from around the world, but I don’t need recommendations for countries where I already have a sense of familiarity with many of their authors, namely USA,UK,CANADA, and AUSTRALIA. I want to step away from those borders and enter new areas. So I created a google form, where you can go in and leave the name of an author, the country they’re from, and the title of the book. I will then compile a massive list and create the Book World Tour challenge. Where people can pick out a few books from authors they may not be aware of, who are telling stories that we can learn from and be able to spread the word about different books and cultures.

The Google form can be found here: https://goo.gl/forms/SUNoPnoM64WJcWlv1

And I really hope you can share this through the online book community so we can all start reading fresh and new stories from all over the world!

See you soon!!

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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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.

ratethree