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

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

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

Book Reviews

American Street – Book Review

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I was given an eARC of this book from the publisher; this in no way influenced my opinion.

This is a Spoiler free review!

American Street by Ibi Zoboi is one of the most powerful stories I have read this year. It follows Fabiola Toussaint as she moves to Detroit from her home in Haiti with her mother. They’re headed to live with her aunt and cousins, but Fabiola’s mother is held by immigration in New Jersey, but Fabiola continues her journey on to Detroit.

This is where the story kicks off, and it certainly does just that. Fabiola tries to understand her new world. American Street is filled with amazing characters, and what’s more important it is filled with complex and interesting relationships. It is a really gripping book.

I think a reason I really loved this book beyond the great story telling and characterization, is that I connected with Fabiola on certain things she went through trying to fit into a new country. I had to do the same when I was a kid who emigrated from Portugal to the USA, and then once again when I moved to Germany. Fitting into a new country, is a massive undertaking and always one hell of an adventure.

 

Fabiola handles a number of different obstacles in this book, all the while dealing with the matter of her mother still being detained in New Jersey. The story is going to twist and turn, and your heart will do the same.

 

This book is great, and I HIGHLY recommend this novel. It’s a rough read with a sprinkle of magical realism. The book will be released February 14,2017. PREORDER IT, BUY IT!!!

 

I give this book 5 out of 5 Metalhorns!

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Book Reviews

How it Went Down – Book Review

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How it Went Down by Kekla Magoon tells the story of Tariq Johnson who’s a 16 year old black young man who’s shot twice by Jack Franklin a white man. Tariq dies from the gunshot wounds he sustained. This is how the story begins, so this isn’t a spoiler. The story surrounds all the people left behind, some were witnesses to the shooting and some were friends and family of the victim.

The book goes between quite a few points of view. Everyone has a story to tell about Tariq and all of the witnesses seem to have a very different account of exactly what happened. Sound familiar? That’s because you can see this happening more and more in the news. In real life you’re seeing it more as white cops shooting unarmed black men, WHY? Well I could get into a very long winded rant about racism, but I will save that for another time. This book was tough to read, and not because of any sort of quality issue, but because of how easy it is to put a face to Tariq because of how often these situations occur in real life in the USA. The relevance to real life events is what made it such a potent and heart breaking read. The characters’ emotions will take over you and it’s going to grip you and make you think about the story weeks after you finish.

I will say this, I understood the need for the different points of view, I do feel that there were a bit too many of them. At some point, I was confusing a couple of the characters at one point, and while it was easy to clarify by reading back who was who, I still think this could have been done without a handful of the points of view.

All in all though this book tugged at every piece of my soul. I highly recommend it to absolutely everyone. It is strange to me that this book isn’t really talked about much in the book community, but I hope I can get a few of you to read it and that more people will start talking about it. It’s a book that needs to be read.

I give it 4 out of 5 Metalhorns.

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Book Reviews

The Female of the Species – Book Review

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This book was sent to me by the Publisher. This in no way influenced my review or thoughts on this novel. This is spoiler free, and short and sweet as most of my reviews are. I don’t want my opinion on a novel to spoil the story.

The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis is going to come for your emotions, your expectations, and your soul. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started reading this–A story similar to Dexter where the killing is done to those who some may say deserve it? It’s so much more than that. This book takes you on the ups and downs of being a female in a world where many times that means you look like lonely prey.

You learn right away that Alex is a killer. Her sister was sexually assaulted and killed, and the man who did it walked free for lack of evidence. It’s a story we have all become a little too familiar with, but Alex takes matters into her own hands. She murders that man in a brutal way, and never gets caught. That’s where the story really kicks off.

The Female of the Species is told in three points of view. One being Alex, the other is Peekay, and then Jack. Peekay and Jack sort of bring Alex out of the shadows and the social isolation she’s placed herself in because she feels she cannot be trusted around other human beings at all times. One night and one incident sort of brings them together, and a few other side characters as well. This book examines rape culture, the female anger that we feel when we are not heard or when perps walk free when they should spend years and years behind bars, and a closer look at slut shaming and the affects it may have. You get the view of the angry, the innocent, and the guy who doesn’t realize his words and behavior are shitty. Taking a look at the “boys will be boys” line of thought.

The writing is magnificent and the different POV’s were done really well. I feel that this is a book that should be read by young men and women, and should not be taken lightly. The subject matter is tough to handle, but look at the news today, it’s all around us.

A quick note: The book says that it is ages 14 & up, but I feel that some of the crass speech and even subject matter may not be for every 14 year old. I would advise that people take the maturity of the younger teens into consideration before handing them this book.

TRIGGER WARNING: It’s been made obvious by my review that rape and sexual assault is the main topic. There is also animal abuse and child molestation within the pages of this book, so please be aware if those are triggers for you.

I give this book 5 out of 5 metal horns!!

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Books

Dear Dan Brown,YA isn’t for you

Da Vinci Code_approved.indd

Honestly Adults over the age of 45 seem to think we are all a bunch of idiots. While I am no longer considered a young adult, I read plenty of Young Adult fiction, and I am close enough to remember very clearly all the things I hated to hear from adults when I was a teen or in my early twenties. Mr. Dan Brown has officially struck upon all of those things.

A Young Adult Version of The Da Vinci Code

I know exactly why this version is even being printed and it has nothing to do with sparking a sense of discovery in anyone. Dan Brown was quoted saying,

“My parents were educators, so it’s no surprise that I have a fascination with history and research. In fact, if I weren’t an author, I’m sure I would be a teacher myself. It is my sincere hope that this adaptation of The Da Vinci Code sparks in young adults the same thrill of discovery I feel while exploring hidden history and the mysteries of the world we live in.”

Yes, and the best way to spark interest in something is to essentially tell the target audience they’re not smart enough to read the original story. What’s actually happening here is that his publishers know just how successful YA books are in the current market. Children and Young Adult books have seen the most growth in sales in the past few years. This is nothing more than a marketing strategy. Let me explain to you why I think this is an idiotic move.

I read The Da Vinci Code as a teen, and read the prequel Angels and Demons as a teen as well. You know what I thought about them then? “Not the best writing, but still entertaining.” Because that’s the truth of it. There is not a single theme in the Original Da Vinci Code that any book nerd teenager can’t grasp. Honestly, I’ve seen YA with more complicated themes and messages. People of the book community have been here before, and quite recently as well. Where another Penis with eyes decided that Young Adult fiction isn’t morally complicated enough, and he was about to be the game changer. Both of you need to STOP.

If Dan Brown really wanted to spark any kind of interest within the YA community, maybe he should have sat down and written a COMPLETELY NEW series for YA. Make the characters young and write the secret society, historical fiction, and mystery in there, but make it a fresh idea, make it new and depart from The Da Vinci Code. By releasing this book in September you’re just telling a bunch of young people “Here, I dumbed this down for you because the only things I think you’re good at are selfies.”

selfieMONALISA

It is so condescending and idiotic to think so highly of your writing, and so low of the youth today that you figured this was the best move. Sir, you sold 82 million copies of The Da Vinci Code, you really fucking think that NONE of those copies were bought, read and understood by young adults? You fool!

I am tired of getting shit for reading Young Adult fiction, and I am tired of certain writers acting like they need to enter the YA community with there heads up their ass, and with the air around them as if they’re the second coming of Jesus. I have zero patience for this kind of thing and I hope this plan BOMBS. You don’t deserve the recognition and love from this wonderful community, and you’re well on your way to never receiving it. I will NOT be buying this book, and neither should anyone else. Maybe our tiny brains just can’t help themselves.

Peace & Love…sort of.

MATG