Saturday, May 6, 2017

Review: Alex and Eliza

Alex and Eliza Alex and Eliza by Melissa de la Cruz
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a historical fiction novel about Elizabeth Schuyler and Alexander Hamilton, and how they came to be married. The Netgalley sample I received was only for 4 chapters, but I finished it on audiobook, so here are my thoughts:

In the early chapters, I realized that the author stated that they had maids or servants, and ignored the presence of slavery in the time period. I looked further into it, and the Schuyler's definitely had slaves. This felt very inauthentic, and though it was not the point of the novel, it glazed over a very real part of the United States History.

The author said she made it historically accurate to a point, and it definitely felt like that. I really appreciated how the characters talked, and how it sounded like they belonged to a previous time period. Also, it was really cool that the author based the story on real people in US history. It was a cute, fluffy novel imagining Alex and Eliza's courtship and the challenges they must have faced due to their differences in status. I enjoyed how Eliza is portrayed passionate about the Revolution and helping the troops of the colonies, and I also enjoyed the portrayal of Peggy and Angelica, though I wish they had been more present in the novel. Perhaps they will be in the sequel? I gave this 3/5 stars.

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Sunday, March 12, 2017

Review: Someone Else's Summer

Someone Else's Summer Someone Else's Summer by Rachel Bateman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

* I received an e-galley from Net Galley for review. The quotes that I utilized in this review may not be final.

Someone Else's Summer is about a girl named Anna , who is recovering from her sister, Storm, passing away on graduation night. She finds a list that Storm wrote before she passed away of things she wanted to do during the summer. Anna begins to complete the list with her late sister's best friend, Cameron.

I liked this book because it covered grief, and dealing with the death of a close one. It also showed the recovery process. I enjoyed seeing Cameron and Anna's interactions, and the adventures they went on to complete the list. Cameron helped to bring Anna out of her comfort zone, and she grew from their experiences.

There were certain plot points that I found to be not so great. Earlier in the book, Anna is at a party with her friend Piper, and she begins to feel uncomfortable. Then, when a man attempts to sexually assault her, she tells Piper that she is leaving, while her friend remains at the party. In a situation where the girls don't know anyone else at the party, and Anna was almost assaulted, it's dangerous to leave her drunk friend alone with older men who are strangers.

Also, Anna's Aunt Morgan let her get away with everything, which eventually meant that Anna was allowed to leave home for up to 3 weeks with a boy, staying in hotels/ B & B's alone. I could see this happening if Anna was in college, but for her Aunt to let her have free reign, regardless of the consequences was questionable. Furthermore, Aunt Morgan did not really support Anna's need to remain connected to her sister by completing the list. She basically told Anna that she needed to find her own place in the world, separate from Storm, rather than supporting her need to remain connected to her sister after she passed away.

In the first few chapters of the book, the author continued to use strange descriptions, such as "his bloodshot and wet, framed by splotchy skin and pure devastation, mine clear and steely", and "His body is all sharp corners and acute angles, pieced together with tape and a child's glue stick". These descriptions felt a little strange, and elaborate, and didn't really connect with the story.

Overall, the story is about overcoming loss, while remembering people you loved, and still loving them after death. It has romance, and grief, and it makes for a cute contemporary, despite the way it starts. I give this 3.5 stars.

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Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Diversity Bingo Update!

The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon is a Young Adult Contemporary novel that is relatively a new release. It discusses immigration and deportation, and the story is told through multiple perspectives. The main characters, Natasha and Daniel are both immigrants. Natasha is undocumented, and her parents immigrated from Jamaica. Daniel's parents legally immigrated from South Korea. Overall, I liked the use of multiple perspectives, and how Daniel and Natasha's culture impacted their story. I did a review on my BookTube channel if you want to check out more of my thoughts.

*This book will fulfill "An immigrant/refugee MC" for Diversity bingo

I also read "of Fire and Stars" by Audrey Coulthurst. This is a fantasy novel in which a Princess is betrothed to a Prince from a foreign kingdom, only to fall in love with his sister. Also, the Princess hides her ability to use magic, something that is forbidden in their world. I was glad to see a non-heterosexual couple romance, but that was the only part of the book that was interesting! The world building wasn't well done, and I couldn't tell what the plot was until almost the ending!

*This book will fulfill "Bisexual MC: Own voices" for Diversity Bingo.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Let's Play Diversity Bingo!

It's Diversity Bingo time! I've heard about this recently, and it's such a cool idea! This chart is comprised of challenges for books featuring diverse characters. The goal is to complete the bingo board in the year of 2017. I just finished #DiverseAThon 2017 yesterday, so I think it's about time to continue my goal of reading about more perspectives! I know lots of booktubers and bloggers are trying this challenge, so I thought I'd join the group!

To download this image, I'd recommend searching it on Google. My plan is to cross it off through the year, and post about my experience here. So far this year, due to DiverseAThon, I've already read stories featuring diverse characters. So, let's see...which squares can I cross off?

Book By Author of Color: Americanah by

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Review: Every Heart a Doorway

Every Heart a Doorway Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

"Every Heart a Doorway" has a very intriguing premise. I love the concept explored in the story: What happens after you come back from another world? It's hard to acclimate and it's confusing. I feel like that's also what happens after you read a world changing book (kind of like a mourning period). The children in the story have found doors to other worlds that they can travel to. They could have visited a "nonsense" world, a "logic" world, an underworld, a world composed of spiders, or skeletons, etc. This concept is so different from anything I've ever read. The way I think of it is what should have happened to the Pevensies after "The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe". How do children go back to life in our world after being gone for six weeks, or six years? This book was originally described to me as "Ms. Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, but better"! The representation in this book was fantastic! The main character is asexual (the first time I've seen it represented in a book or otherwise), another is transgender. There so many different races and ethnicities are represented. I really admired the way the author approached sexuality. However a character identified, the story was not built around it. For example, the main character was asexual, but it was quickly explained, and it simply added to the complexity of that character, rather than being used as a plot point in the narrative. The book was short (around 190 pages), the pacing was well done, and the world building was extraordinary. I loved the narration, and the voice it had in the story. I have never been more pleased that I picked up a recommended novel, and I strongly recommend that everyone read this book!

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Review: How to Be Happy: A Memoir of Love, Sex and Teenage Confusion

How to Be Happy: A Memoir of Love, Sex and Teenage Confusion How to Be Happy: A Memoir of Love, Sex and Teenage Confusion by David Burton
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed reading this book. It follows the author as he experiences his adolescence, and deals with the struggles of questioning his sexuality as well as confronting his mental illness. This book gave me a great insight into his experience, and it showed how difficult adolescence is. It confronts issues regarding discovering sexuality, growing apart from friends, self mutilation, and relationships/breakups. Despite how different the author's teenage experience was from my own, I found it completely relatable. Every teenager has a difficult time discovering who they are whilst trying to maintain appearances. To read about David's thoughts during this difficult period in his life, it reminded me that you never really know what is going on in someone's head. Despite how everyone portrays themselves to the world, we really all are incredibly clueless. In adolescence, who we are, who we want to be, what we want to all seems inconceivable. This book was a great reminder also, that no matter how difficult life may seem, it will get better. It is never too late to achieve happiness, and it may seem difficult, but we will all find our way. I think this book is suitable for any young adult/adult to read, and I would strongly recommend it.

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Friday, January 13, 2017

Review: A Thousand Pieces of You

A Thousand Pieces of You A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

WOH! I started this after midnight, and I read it all the way through and finished it before 4 am! This is the first time that I can remember reading a book in one sitting (though I read The Cursed Child in one sitting, but it's a play, so it doesn't really count).

A Thousand Pieces of You is the story of a girl named Marguerite whose Father, a scientist who created Firebird, a device that enables the wearer to travel between dimensions, is killed. It seems that his research assistant, Paul, killed him and ran off. So, Marguerite and Theo (another research assistant), travel in between dimensions with prototypes of Firebird, in an attempt to bring her Father's killer to justice.

This book is fantastic! The ways the other dimensions are imagined, I loved it! The idea of Firebird is that when you put it on and travel to another dimension, you are thrusted into your body in the other universe. I love the way the main characters in these books were different in other dimensions. My favorite dimension was where Marguerite was a princess in Russia, and I loved how Paul's other dimension self was similar, yet different.

I was disappointed that I could spot plot twists so far ahead, but I was still invested in the story and I was still entertained, and I love the way the story unfolded. I've seen other people's reviews, in which they discuss that it was more of a romance than a Sci-Fi book, and I concur with that. However, I don't think it affected how much I loved this book, since I'm not a Sci-Fi reader normally. I think this book is more about the characters and their development, and that's just the way I like it. Also, the cover is a complete masterpiece.

I feel like I almost never give a book 5 stars, but it was inevitable for this book. The fact that I couldn't put it down, and got much less sleep due to my investment in the story is definitely a part of that. I loved how the universe was constructed, and it strongly reminded me of The Flash on the CW, where Barry travels to different earths. Barry meets himself, and discovers how different the other version of him is, due to his life experiences changing. It also reminded me of The Next Together by Laruen James, but it was done even better! So, to finish this review out, if you like adventure, fate driven romance, and sci-fi, I think you'll like this book!

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