Category Archives: Book Reviews

Down the TBR Hole #6

Time again to see if I can pair down my TBR shelf a little bit.  This was originally created by Lost in a Story and seems like a good way to go through some of my TBR on Goodreads and see what is there and what I can get rid of or push me to start reading. 
Links will be  on the titles for the books Goodreads page. (I am going to do ten for this round of this tag).

It works like this:

  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 or 15 or 20, if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?
  • Keep track of where you left off so you can pick up there next time!

Current TBR – 257


The Painted Lady – Joseph Faiank 
This sounds kind of generic. One of those stories where a bad decision in the past comes back to haunt the main character. At the moment it doesn’t sound all that different or interesting.
Decision: Remove

The Dead Club – Manuel Ruiz 
A story about Purgatory, the Grim Reaper, an Oracle and the Underworld? Yes, please!
Decision: Keep

This Shadow Follows Me – Jospeh McGinnis
I own this one. It does sound really powerful but also really difficult to read. I will read it one day but I have to be in the right mindset for it and just haven’t been there yet.
Decision: Keep

In Time Like These (In Time Like These #1) – Nathan Van Coops
This one is all about time travel. I adore time travel stories. I will definitely be getting to this one sooner or later.
Decision: Keep

Marking Time (The Immortal Descendants, #1)- April White
This one sounds fascinating. The idea of being a descendant of time and being able to travel through time. There is also some complicated love story and elements of Nature, Fate, War and Death. I am extremely intrigued by this one. I think it is one the next time I do a buying spree I’ll defiantly buy it!
Decision: Keep


Lost Angeles (Lost Angeles #1) -Lisa Mantchev
This is a paranormal romance, which I do enjoy. But this one sounds very generic and it surrounds a vampire. I am still tired of vampires.
Decision: Remove

Mandala Madness – Adult Coloring Book – Kymie Edwins
I added this after a giveaway. I do enjoy adult coloring books but there is no reason it needs to be on my TBR shelf.
Decision: Remove

Nation of Enemies – H.A. Raynes
This is a thriller and I will say that at the moment it doesn’t really hit me as something I want to read. Though the concept is one that seems like it may be something that has a lot of relevant thoughts for today’s society. I will keep it just because I do want to read it in the future.
Decision: Keep

Her Blackened Soul – Isra Sravenheart 
This again sounds like it would be alright. It sounds a bit too out there with animals lovers or something. It isn’t pulling at my reading desires right now.
Decision: Remove

No True Echo – Gareth P. JonesNo True Echo – Gareth P. Jones
A story about being stuck in a time-loop, sounds good to me!
Decision: Keep

 

Kept: 6
Remove: 4
Current TBR Count: 254 

Have you read any of the above books? What do you think of my choices for some of these?

 

Every Heart a Doorway – Seanan McGuire – Review

25526296.jpgChildren disappear and go to wondrous lands. Lands where they can belong and find their true potential. Then those children have to come back to our world. Adapting to life in the mundane world can be difficult which is where Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children comes in. It is a place to learn how to thrive in their new situation.

Nancy is back in the land of the living and she isn’t sure what she thinks about her new situation. She feels lost but quickly finds out she isn’t the only one. Just as she begins to find her place in her new school, people start turning up dead. Who is killing people? And will they lose their only safe place in this harsh and difficult world?

 

What I Loved_-4

I have heard great things about this series for a long time. I have not seen one negative review concerning this book or the series as a whole. I have had it on my shelf for a while and finally decided to take it down. I am so glad I did. I ripped through this book with a fervor. It was entrancing and full of magic and wonder.

This is very much a character driven story. The characters are what make this book. I will say that the plot isn’t all that exciting, it is the characters that made me want to keep flipping pages.

Each child at this home has found a door to a new and strange world. I loved that the doors appeared to kids who felt as if they did not belong. They were presented with a new world where they could find their place and their purpose. I loved this interpretation of this whole magical world idea.

Often characters are just thrown into magical worlds without much thought. They are there to disrupt things most of the time. In this story the doors are there as a guide. I thought it was interesting how they were given this opportunity to find a new place for themselves. I also thought it was interesting that they were then responsible for enabling themselves to fit into their new world.

Every character in this story was unique. They all held attributes of the world’s where they grew up. I loved how you could feel where they came from by the way they talked and acted. None of them felt like they fell into any character archetype. They were all uniquely themselves.

I thought this was a great way of showing who each character was and where they came from without going into their backstories fully. You got a great sense of all the worlds right away by just the way each of them spoke and acted. It was a great use of showing and not telling.

I also really liked the way the different type of worlds were described. McGuire used directions to give you an idea of how this universe worked. The four main directions being Virtue, Wicked, Nonsense and Logic. You then filled in sub directions from there. I instantly could visualize and understand how this world was laid out. I thought that was clever way of describing the world.

This also had a great diverse cast of characters. We had a transgender character. We have characters of different nationalities. We had characters that did not follow gender roles or stereotypes. We had a asexual character. I loved how different they all were yet were all connected by their desire to return to their magical lives.

What I was just okay with
The plot, as I mentioned above, is not very strong. The plot itself its pretty basic. There are people being killed, they investigate and figure it all out. There is no real surprise to anything and really not too much happens until the end.

It was the characters that made this story. I wasn’t too upset about the lack of complex plot because I was just captured by the characters and their personalities. I think making it a little longer might have fleshed out pieces of the plot.

The end did feel rushed but again it wasn’t something I found myself upset over. I do think adding another 50 pages or so might have made the process of finding the killer a bit more detailed but it didn’t really hurt the story over all.

What I Wished was Different_
There was nothing that threw me out of the story. I did find myself wanting to know more about everyone in the home. Thankfully the sequels all tell different stories about different characters. That being a fact made me not feel like I was missing out on anything.

I have this a 5 star rating on Goodreads. I adored the characters and am eager to learn more about some of them throughout the rest of the books.

Copy of What I was just okay with

“Narrate the impossible things, turn them into a story, and they can be controlled.” (pg. 1)

“Hope hurts.” (pg. 30)

“You shouldn’t close a door just because you don’t like what’s on the other side.” (pg. 56)

“We notice the silence of men. We depend upon the silence of women.” (pg. 59) (Talk about a powerful quote!)

“Their love wanted to fix her, and refused to see that she wasn’t broken.” (pg. 83)

The Littlest Uninvited One – Charles Tazewell – Review

9781571021311-us-300A cherub who doesn’t fit in finds a new friend who helps him feel at home. When that new friend gets out and causes a stir it is up to the cherub and a higher power to put things right again. In the process they make an addition to paradise that was long overdue.

 

 

 

What I Loved_-4
I am going to deviate from my normal format a bit for this book and only talk about what I loved. This is one of those books that I frequently go back to reading whenever I need a sweet story to make me smile. It is a picture book though it isn’t exactly written in a children’s vocabulary. It is a strong story about the love of pets.

I have had this book for quite awhile and have read it a number of times. It is about a young cherub named Michael who is a little bit of a trouble maker. He lives in paradise but he is not perfect. He is loved by all though.

One day he mentions how much he would like a dog so some of the other angels get him a dog. Now at this time dogs aren’t allowed in paradise. Michael keeps his new best friend a secret for as long as he can but eventually that secret gets out. The story then turns to him saving his friend and making him a part of his home.

I love this book first off because it is about the love for a pet. As an animal lover and someone who has grown up with pets my whole life, I appreciate and adore the message of this book. It centers on the importance of a pets life to a child and to those around them. It is sweet and heartwarming.

We get to see the connection grow between Michael and his dog. We see how important things become to him and he find his purpose. It is a simple story but it is one that hold s strong and pure message.

I also really liked how Heaven is depicted in this story. First they don’t use Catholic or Christian terms for the setting or anyone in the story. I think this helps make the story more universal. While it is clearly a Christian Heaven setting you aren’t hit over the head with the terminology. I think you can appreciate the story even if you don’t hold the same beliefs or have the same belief system.

There is a moment in the story that talks about how when you get up to the Celestial City and walk into the home where the pets are living you hear a distinct call from around you. You instantly recognize the call, whether it is a bark, a meow or a chirp and you know that pet is yours. They hear you and come to you. That moment is what drives this books message home. That pets  have meaning and that their souls live on even past death.

If you have ever loved a pet and lost them you will appreciate this book. Even if you don’t  hold any Christian beliefs I do believe you can enjoy this story. It is a quick and the pictures are gorgeous.

I have it a 5 star rating on Goodreads because it is uplifting and makes you smile and feel comfort.

Lost Gods – Gerald Blom – Review

511cMPGR0ML._SX373_BO1,204,203,200_Chet has just gotten out of jail. He is determined to turn his life around. He finds his wife Trish and runs away with her. He runs to his grandmother’s house. A grandmother he thinks will protect him and help them all start fresh.

What Chet doesn’t know is that his kindly grandmother is actually a demon. She is hell-bent on capturing their unborn child and using its soul to rejuvenate herself. She kills Chet and sends him to purgatory. Chet finds himself in a hell-scape that is under attack. He must survive to find a key to get him home before Trish and his unborn child meet him in this underworld.

What I Loved_-4

I liked the setting of this book. It was interesting because it took place in purgatory. I have read very few books that take place in purgatory. Usually it is either Heaven or Hell, rarely is it in the space in-between. It was interesting to explore this world and see how it operates. It was much different setting than I have seen before.

I also thought it interesting that almost all the characters were expendable. Some times you get into a story and realize that no one is in any real danger. Everyone is protected because they are main characters. In this book Chet was the only one that I thought was always going to get revived. Some of the characters I thought were going to be big players throughout the story died early. I liked that because it keeps you on your toes and guessing.

I also thought the idea of the old gods and “One Gods,” was great. I liked hearing about this separation and how there were these two time periods of gods. I thought it was an interesting addition to the story. I love stories that explore the idea of gods and religion and putting all them into one was a good addition. I just wish that they had been the focus of the story and not Chet.

What I was just okay with
I felt like this was one of those stories that just ran from obstacle to obstacle. Chet would get himself into one issues, someone would save him and he would then be onto the next one. It felt very formulaic to me.

I wanted to see the problems grow on one another. I wanted to see him building up something and not just running around in circles. He would get captured, freed and captured again. It was a constant back and forth with the same idea. I wanted the plot to have a bit more substance to it.

I also thought the idea of how the gods could get revived by Ka was used way too much. As soon as we were introduced to the idea it was used every other chapter to heal someone. The idea I liked earlier of characters being expendable faded when this new healing aspect showed up. Suddenly everyone was savable.

The old gods we meet get taken down so many time to be revived over and over again. It was almost as if these parts were there to expand the page count and plot line a bit longer. We had about three different fight scenes where they all go seriously injured, looked like they were defeated and then were saved. We could have done one, two at the most. It got very repetitive.

What I Wished was Different_
This story focused on Chet and his desire to get home to save his family. That was fine but that wasn’t what held my interest in the story. I actually didn’t really like Chet or Trish. It thought they were very flat and didn’t strike me as appealing in any way. They could have done with more fleshing out.

What held my interest and the real reason I finished this book was the fight between the old gods and the Green coats and the “One Gods” part in it all. I loved the idea and I think the book could have been so much better had it focused on that fight instead.

That part of the story was how the old gods are fading because no one believes in them or prays to them. They were banished to purgatory by the “One Gods” or the gods of all the major religions of today, Buddha, Muhammad, Jesus etc. They are fighting to stay alive in this new world.

The Green coats are souls who want to get rid of the gods and rule with demons and Lucifer. This was fascinating to me. I wanted to see how this played out. I wanted more about the old gods and how they ruled when they were on Earth. I wanted their full back story. I wanted to see them fight for their land and way of life. I wanted to see them encounter the “One Gods” and figure out how to co-exist.

Instead we got Chet running around and bits and pieces of the other story. I feel like there was a missed opportunity to tell the real fascinating story.

I gave this book 2 stars on Goodreads. I only finished it because I wanted to see if we got anymore from the god storyline.

 

Copy of What I was just okay with
“Death is madness and chaos – a hundred gods fighting over the dead.” (pg. 93)

“Soon, very soon, souls will no longer kneel to the gods.” (pg. 150)

“A god, a true god, gives man meaning to their existence….” (pg. 280).

“Peace comes from knowing you helped those that you could.” (pg. 379)

May Wrap-Up

I feel like May flew by. I think this was definitely the fastest month of this year. I don’t know if that is because I have a big work event next month or because of the weather change but either way I feel like May just went by in a blur.

I only read three books this month but with how busy I was, that is pretty good. I am still 5 books ahead of my Goodreads challenge so that makes me feel good. The book I am currently reading is a 500 pages so I knew it would slow down my progress.

As for writing I am proud of my work this month. I kept up a decent blogging schedule even though I am getting low on books that I need to review. I also have been working hard on a few short stories for a contest in the first week of June. I think I am getting into a good routine now that my work life has evened out a bit.

Books Read:

Leah and the Offbeat– Becky Albertalli – While I enjoyed this story I didn’t love it as much as I loved Simon vs. The Homosapiens Agenda. I thought it lacked the magic of the other book but was still a sweet read.

Feral Youth – Shaun David Hutchinson ( and nine other authors) – I was surprised how much I enjoyed this one. While it was simple it had a strong message. I liked the storytelling element.

Dread Nation – Justina Ireland- This one was so much fun. A twist on zombies that was fresh. I have no idea how I am going to wait until the next book.

Blog Posts
A Monster Calls – Review – Patrick Ness
How I See Myself as a Fictional Character Tag
Scythe – Neal Shusterman – Review
Leah and the Offbeat – Becky Albertalli – Review
Thunderhead – Neal Shuserman – Review
Feral Youth – Shaun David Hutchinson (and nine other authors) – Review
Down the TBR Hole #5
Dread Nation – Justina Ireland- Review
This is My Genre Book Tag

Movies Seen:
I actually saw two movies this month which is rare for me. I usually only see movies if I am really interested in them. I mostly wait until they are out on video because the movie theater is expensive!


Ready Player One – I loved the book of this movie. I will say the movie was good but I prefer the book. There was a lot of changes but I don’t think the story lost anything. It was fun but not my favorite.

Avengers: Infinity War – This movie was a serious ride. I loved all the characters coming together. I haven’t seen all the Marvel movies so I wasn’t completely sure what parts of the story were about but it was still fun to watch. It also left me desperately wanting the next movie.

TV Shows:

28927.jpeg
The Handmaids Tale – I love this show. I am two episodes behind but I am just enthralled by it. It is terrifying yet fascinating at the same time. I am interested to see where it goes now that this season has gone past the book.

What was your May like? Did it seem to fly by for you as well? What were your favorite books, movie and tv shows?

Dread Nation – Justina Ireland – Review

30223025Jane McKeene was born two days before the dead began to dead began to walk at Gettysburg. Life is flipped on its head, when the dead no longer stay dead. Jane is raised in a world where survival is the most important aspect of life.

Jane is sent to Miss Preston’s School of Combat. Here she learns her place, learning survival skills to keep the rich white people alive. Life quickly falls apart around her. Jane realizes there is more going on then just the dead walking. She learns she needs to step up, take charge and save not only herself but those she cares about.

 

 

What I Loved_-4
This book was all over my Twitter for quite a while. Many of my favorite authors were raving about it which heightened my interest in the story. I was hooked at the idea of zombies in the Civil War era. In the end this one definitely lived up to the hype.

One of the elements I loved most about this book was the idea of zombies in the Civil War era. This was new and fresh. All the stories I know that involve zombies are set in our modern times. I have not read or seen anything where zombies exist in a  different time period.

Setting the story here gives the story the ability to do something new and different. We get to see how people would fight this threat without our modern technology and knowledge. It is interesting because it doesn’t seem like a hindrance to them. As I read I wondered if this would be the ideal time to have this kind of thing happen. These people all know how to fight to survive and thus are able to survive longer.

Another aspect I found interesting was the fact that this wasn’t about a complete apocalypse situation. They aren’t living in the woods or running from place to place. At first it seems like the plague is under control, at least in a sense. Not all hope is lost. They have managed to live life as usual with this threat, something you don’t usually see. Of course, there is more than meet the eye but I liked this fresh take on the situation.

I also liked the idea that the “shambles” or zombies are learning. They evolved throughout the story. I think there is potential for some serious interesting aspects to this zombies throughout the rest of the series.

Jane was a fantastic character. Not only was she strong but she was real. Sometimes these kind of characters are one we think have to be strong at all times. They don’t break which isn’t realistic. People are going to break when they are hurt. People all have their breaking points. It is only human to be vulnerable sometimes.

Jane’s character emphasizes this in a great way. She is able to stand up for herself when she needs to. She is a fighter that won’t take any crap but she is also human. She falls and needs to find a way to stand back up again. I admired her character. I felt like she was someone I could relate too. I am very interested to see how her character grows throughout the story.

This book is about race relations. You would think that in the zombie apocalypse race would not the a thing that would divivde people but that is not true. In this world African American’s are not slaves  but they are still enslaved. They are thought of being only useful to fight to keep the white people alive. It is preached that this is their punishment for being who they are. It is infuriating but it hits on points that need to be hit on.

This explores topics in a way that feel modern and present day. I think this does a great job at portraying one way of life while commenting on things that relate to us now. Nothing felt preachy but it made its points in a great way.

What I was just okay with
I enjoyed the story a lot. I loved Jane and Katherine. I just wish we had learned more about Jack. I feel like he has a good story to him. He seems misunderstood and I wanted to see more of him. I hope we see more in the coming books. I want him to be a deep character and I think he has great potential.

What I Wished was Different_
There was nothing that threw me out of the story. I was wrapped up in the tale the whole time and wish I had the next book right now.

I gave this 5 stars on Goodreads. The story was  fresh take on a stale topic, had great characters and was able to make comments about race and race relations in a strong way.

Copy of What I was just okay with
“Sometimes you have to live down to people’s expectations, Kate. If you can do that, you’ll get much further in life.” (pg. 63)

“Lots of ways to pretty up the same old evils.” (pg. 243)

“It seems strange that in these very fraught times folks would be more concerned about hardworking people trying to find a better life than the monsters that actually want to eat them.” (pg. 360).

“See, the problem in this world ain’t sinners, or even the dead. It is men who will step on anyone who stands in the way of their pursuit of power.” (pg. 435)

Down the TBR Hole #5

Been a minute since we went through my TBR shelf.  I first saw this tag on on Howling Libraries  It was originally created by Lost in a Story and seems like a good way to go through some of my TBR on Goodreads and see what is there and what I can get rid of or push me to start reading. 
Links will be  on the titles for the books Goodreads page. (I am going to do ten for this round of this tag).

It works like this:

  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 or 15 or 20, if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?
  • Keep track of where you left off so you can pick up there next time!

Current TBR – 250

Chimera – John Barth 
I have this one on my shelf. I like the idea of telling different myths. I am currently in a myth mood so maybe I’ll pick this one up soon.
Decision: Keep

Legend- David Lynn Golemon
This is another one of those thrillers with a twist to history. I like the idea and I get into the moods for these stories at least once a year.
Decision: Keep

Cyptonomicon – Neal Stephenson
I tried to read this book years ago. I still have it but I remember only being able to get through about 50 pages. I remember it being hard to read and not holding my attention. I still own it but I don’t think it is one I will ever get back too.
Decision: Remove

I Am Number Four – Pittacus Lore
I liked the idea of the story but I have heard some not great things about the author. I don’t have a desire to read anything by him.
Decision: Remove

Turning Angel – Greg Iles
I have zero memory of this book. After reading the summary it just sounds generic murder mystery. Doesn’t hold any interest for me.
Decision: Remove


The Absolute Sandman, Volume One – Neil Gaiman
I have read the first issue of this comic. I enjoyed it. I just haven’t gotten around to getting anymore of them. I will finish it though because I have heard such great things about it.
Decision: Keep

Unwind – Neal Shusterman
I just finished Scythe by Neal Shusterman and I loved it. I am interested in this series more now.
Decision: Keep

Wither – Lauren DeStefano
This kind of sounds interesting but it didn’t stand out that much. I don’t know if would ever actually pick this one up.
Decision: Remove

The Forest of Hands and Teeth – Carrie Ryan
This summary reminded me of the movie The Village. I know that ending was terrible and I can’t get those vibes out of my head.
Decision: Remove

Delirium – Lauren Oliver
A world where love is outlawed? Sounds interesting.
Decision: Keep

Kept: 5
Removed: 5
Current TBR Count – 245

Feral Youth – Shaun David Hutchinson (and Nine other authors) – Review

31556153.jpgTen teens are left out in the wilderness to learn how to come together as a team and make their way back to the Zeppelin Bend an education camp for delinquent children. On the journey they begin to tell stories in order to not only learn more about each other, but to also stay sane.

Interesting thing is that stories tend to help you learn about the people around you, even if they don’t mean to let anything about themselves be known. As they journey they realize they have more in common then first thought. Connections are built as they work to survive this final test.

 

What I Loved_-4
I picked up this book because Shaun David Hutchinson was one of the authors. I don’t know if I would have picked it up otherwise, the story itself didn’t seem all that interesting to me but I figured I would give it a shot. I am glad I did. While it didn’t amaze me it was an enjoyable read.

I really loved the use of storytelling in this book. Each character gets a chance to tell a story, whether it is about them or about something completely unrelated. We learn about the characters through each of the stories. I loved how stories are used to get to the heart of the characters. We don’t have to just watch them trapeze through the woods and make assumptions.

We get stories that tell us something about all the characters. We don’t learn everything but we do learn that they all have something to relate to. They all are put into this situation because they are perceived as a problem. They made poor choices and are labeled as problem child. In the end we learn that they are all young people trying to figure out what they are doing in life.

While it is a cliche the characters do form a connection to one another. We know that at the end that connection is not going to last but it was a nice element to the story. I liked that each of them realized that they weren’t the only ones to have hit a rough patch.

What I was just okay with
There was nothing surprising or out of the ordinary in this story. It was a classic understanding one another story. They all had issues, tell stories and come to understand that they are alike. There is nothing that I couldn’t have predicted from reading the summary.

The journey through the woods was just the backdrop to the story. They hit a few snags but I never felt like they were at risk. I didn’t feel like this was much of test of survival for them. It was just a place for them to tell the stories. I kind of wanted a bit more from the walk.

What I Wished was Different_
I enjoyed the story but as I said there was nothing out of the ordinary in the story. It was pretty simple. I kind of wished for a twist. Maybe not to have a feel good ending. Maybe even though they tell each other their stories they don’t form an understanding. Maybe having one person or a few of them just not find a place would have made it seem different.

I gave this book four stars on Goodreads. I enjoyed the storytelling aspect of it. I liked that this was how we learned about the characters. I just wished for a bit more depth or twists to the story.

 

Copy of What I was just okay with
“And sometimes when you’re telling a story, you can’t let stupid shit like the truth get in the way.” (pg. 1)

“It’s not that they lie intentionally, but when people describe themselves they’re really describing what they see in the mirror, and most mirror are too distorted to show the truth. If you listen hard enough, there’s more truth in fiction than in all the other shit combined.” (pg. 6)

“I guess what I like are stories that don’t just make you scared of what’s out there, waiting to get you. I like the ones that make you scared of what might be hidden somewhere inside of yourself. Not knowing one’s own secrets, never mind anyone else’s.” (pg. 161)

“None of that makes a difference, though.[…] Not if all people see is what we’ve done rather than who we are.” (pg. 266)

“You could spend a lifetime exploring the vastness between a person’s words and still never really know them. ” (pg. 305).

Thunderhead- Neal Shusterman – Review

91mya47EdnL(Since this is a review for a second book in a series there will be spoilers for the previous book. )
Citra has been given the role as Scythe, taking the name Anastasia. She is determined to be merciful and respectful to the lives she chooses to end. She will not take a life without giving them the proper time for that person to come to terms with their death. She is determined to make the Scythe purpose closer to the original purpose, taking life to help society but to never enjoy the act.

Rowan was not give a ring, though he does have one. He is out for revenge. He is out to take down those he believes are destroying the Sycthedom. He has taken on a name fitting to his purpose.

When an old threat resurfaces and is determined to destroy all those in its path it is up to Citra and Rowan to save the society they have come to respect and hold dear, even if it costs them everything.

What I Loved_-4
I was curious where this story was going to go in this sequel. I thought I had an idea, and I was partially right but it was much deeper than what I thought it was going to be. We got to see Rowan’s character develop as well as Citra’s.

I again felt partial to Rowan’s story. I think it is because his is a much more complicated storyline. I have always been partial to the storyline where someone tries to be good while doing bad things. I love to see the way their mind twists and tries to keep a moral high ground while doing things that we would normally find reprehensible.

Rowan starts this book as a vigilante. He is out to take down all the Scythe’s who abuse their power. He is ruthless and he even adopts the name Scythe Lucifer. I understood his point, he knew these were the Scythe’s that were destroying the true nature of the work they were supposed to be doing. The way he stalked them and killed them though was hard to read at times.

I wondered if he was going to end up a god-like figure. Someone certain people admired for his work but that wasn’t the case. He was feared, he was understood but never admired. I liked that part way through he understood that what he was doing wasn’t going to solve anything. He was helping to take out part of the problem but wasn’t solving the problem. I liked that this distinction was made.

I liked too that Citra seemed to come into her own in this book. We saw her decide to give her targets time to get their affairs in order. We saw her take great respect in taking a life. I liked how she was understanding enough to do what needed to be done while also still having the fighting spirit when necessary. I think her character plays well against Rowan’s character.

I also really enjoyed the addition of the Thunderhead as a sentient character. In the first book it was just a concept but in this one the in-between portions gave the Thunderhead a personality. I found myself feeling bad for it. It just wants to help the world. It wants to save humanity and yet it isn’t all powerful. I liked that it got frustrated and upset while, making it feel very human.

I am very curious how its character will develop in the next book. I can see it really becoming human like which will be interesting. The storyline of AI becoming human has been done many times before but I am still very interested to see where this one goes.

I also really enjoyed the ending, while the middle again felt a little slow the ending threw everything out the window. I have zero idea how this is going to play out. I am very curious where the story will go. How much time will pass and how this will all end?

What I was just okay with
I am still not a fan of the romance between Citra and Rowan. It is still feeling forced to me. I think a lot of times authors feel like YA books have to have a romance storyline but that isn’t always true.

These two feel very much to me like best friends. They care about each other but there is no real romantic feelings between them. I want to see them bond as friends who will go to any lengths to protect each other. I want to see them center their relationship on their shared experience and their shared desire to bring respect to death. I don’t need to see them try to find a way to be romantically involved, that would change the direction of the story which would hurt the story I think.

What I Wished was Different_

There was nothing that I really found out of bounds or threw me out of the story. I enjoyed the pacing. I enjoyed the story itself. I enjoyed the characters. I am eager to see where the story goes from here.

I gave this four of five stars on Goodreads. I loved the continuation of the story. I enjoyed seeing the characters evolve and loved the ending. I just hope this doesn’t swerve into a romance story.

Copy of What I was just okay with
“Did people miss the dizzy extremes of imagination as they lived their endless, uninspired lives?” (pg. 15)

“Simply put, humanity had a need to be bad. ” (pg. 99)

“While freedom gives rise to growth and enlightenment, permission allows evil to flourish in a light of day that would otherwise destroy it.” (pg. 176)

“Faith is an unfortunate casualty of immortality.” (pg. 241)

“….finding an easy scapegoat for complicated problems had been a human pastime since the first mob of cavemen struck someone down with a rock.” (pg. 326)

 

 

Leah and the Offbeat – Becky Albertalli – Review

x500Leah knows drumming and she understands music. Everything else in her life? She has no idea how to handle. It is her senior year and the world feels like it is slipping through her fingers. Friends are fighting. In the Fall they will all be entering into a whole new stage of life, without one another.

On top of all of that she is struggling with a secret crush, one that she is sure will destroy her life and hurt her friends. How can she find her way in the world when at every turn it seems like everything and everyone is against her?

 

 

What I Loved_-4

I adored Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. (You can read my glowing review here). In that book Simon and Blue were the two that captivated my attention. The rest of the cast was interesting but they didn’t make me wonder too hard about them. They were just Simon’s friends and I liked the role they played in that story.

This as Leah’s story and I actually loved learning more about her. She was probably the least developed in Simon. I loved her character. She is unapologetically herself. She is crass, she is loud and she doesn’t care what anyone else thinks. I found her character refreshing.

I have read reviews that see Leah as too whiny but I thought her issues and her complaining were very relatable. Leah is struggling to figure out where she belongs in her world. She is also someone who overthinks everything. I related well to this issue.

As someone who constantly thinks her choices are the wrong ones I understood Leah’s issues. I understood why she would be upset half the time and why she was constantly fighting everyone. She wanted to belong but she wanted to belong her way. She wanted to stay true to herself while also evolve without seeming phony or fake. Leah was a complicated character and I loved that about her.

I also really enjoyed a very short conversation that was held about being Bi and what labels can mean. One character classify themselves as “Kind bi” and Leah gets upset at them. She points out there is no “kinda bi,” there is you are Bi or you aren’t. The other character pushes back stating their confusion and how they don’t know where they quite fit in.

I thought this was a very important discussion. We sometimes think that we have to have a label for ourselves. We then have to fit into everything that label entails. This creates a serious issue because no one will ever fit one specific label or idea exactly. We all are different. We all have different ways of defining ourselves and I think if a label makes that difficult you shouldn’t have to use one. Labels are good if they help you but if they don’t, don’t worry about them. Anyone who fights you is too busy trying to live their life in one defined way and that is not your problem.

I thought this story did a good job at showing the uncertainty that comes with senior year of high school. It is exciting and terrifying all at the same time. You are going to be an “adult” even though you have no idea what that means. I liked how true to life some of the fears and issues explored in this book felt.

What I was just okay with
I loved Simon vs. because of the connection between Blue and Simon. I also loved it because the plot was easy and precise. This one was missing both of those elements.

I felt like Leah’s story was missing the growing connection between two people. The relationship in this one was wrought with indecision and confusion, which made sense but it never felt like the two characters were getting any closer. I didn’t feel like Leah was learning anything about the other character. I felt like it was more annoyance that eventually evened out. I didn’t feel like she was becoming closer with the person she was crushing on.

The plot in this book was also just about trying to get through this crush. Simon was about Simon coming out and finding out who Blue was. There was more story than just the romance. This one was about her senior year and romance, but it was all around this back and forth relationship. I wanted more to the plot.

I also felt like Leah’s drumming and music were underutilized in this story. There were a few metaphors made but she didn’t really play drums often. I wanted to see her develop as a musician and see music help her find her way. I think if that had been added in this story would have been stronger.

What I Wished was Different_
The biggest issue I had with this story was the ending. It was too quick. In Simon vs. we learn who Blue is and there is a bit of Simon and Blue developing their relationship. We get some scenes we rarely see in books, them just being together. In Leah we got none of that.

In this book we got the big kiss and reveal and then a quick wrap up email to let us know what happened to everyone else and that was it. We don’t get to see the two characters develop their relationship at all. We don’t get to see them talk as a couple. We don’t get to see anything meaningful between them. I wanted more like what Simon left us with, a giddy and happy feeling. Instead I felt like I do often in these books, almost indifferent. I think it would have just been nice to see a bit more of these two together as a couple at the end.

I ended up giving this story 3 stars on Goodreads. It was a good read. I enjoyed learning more about Leah, I just wish it had felt deeper and more meaningful like Simon vs. did.

Copy of What I was just okay with
“But it sucks when life moves along without you.” (pg. 17)

“That has to be the best part of being in love – the feeling of having a home in someone else’s brain.” (pg. 43)

“Like, I call myself an ally. […] But then the second it gets personal, it all flies out the window. I’ll never forget that I said that.” (pg. 286)

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