Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Four days of you and me by Miranda Kenneally



Summary from Goodreads:
A new swoon-worthy romance following a couple's love story on the same date over four years.

Every May 7, the students at Coffee County High School take a class trip. And every year, Lulu’s relationship with Alex Rouvelis gets a little more complicated. Freshman year, they went from sworn enemies to more than friends after a close encounter in an escape room. It’s been hard for Lulu to quit Alex ever since.

Through breakups, make ups, and dating other people, each year’s class trip brings the pair back together and forces them to confront their undeniable connection. From the science museum to an amusement park, from New York City to London, Lulu learns one thing is for sure: love is the biggest trip of all.
Review:
This wasn’t my favorite book by Miranda Kenneally. I was super excited to see she had a new book out. I wanted something light and fluffy to take my mind off of current events and this seemed perfect for the job. I read it super quickly. The premise appealed to me, but it just didn’t flow like her other books.
For starters, the timeline is a little wacky. The story goes back and forth between the current day/field trip and little stories in the past that build up to the current day’s field trip. Then, a lot of time is skipped to the following year’s annual field trip. And time repeats back and forth. This makes character development a bit hard. One second Alex is spitting gum in Lulu’s hair. The next, she’s in love with him. One second, they are fighting publicly for the class president position, and the next they are kissing each others faces off. So, time is weird to say the least.
I’m a fan of the hate to love trope, so on some levels this book appealed to me. But on other levels, I really did not like Alex. After the goings on of the sophomore field trip, I was very upset with him. It was hard for me to forgive certain things. But, also there’s just so much that is skipped in the time jumps…Because of the skipped time I feel like I don’t really get to know anyone. I don’t really feel like I know Lulu either. This definitely diminished my overall love of the characters.
I liked that Kenneally incorporated a character who writes graphic novels into her books! That’s something new. I like that all her characters take what they do seriously, whether it be sports, music, art, or books. And I do love how sizzling the romance tends to be too. I did still read this book super fast, and it did work as the escape that I wanted it to be. It just wasn’t as good as other books by this author. And again, I think that’s mostly because of the weird time jumps/pacing of the whole thing. I give it a 7.5/10.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Yes No Maybe So by Becky Albertalli and Aisha Saeed

 
Summary from Goodreads:
New York Times bestselling authors Becky Albertalli and Aisha Saeed have crafted a resonant, funny, and memorable story about the power of love and resistance.

YES
Jamie Goldberg is cool with volunteering for his local state senate candidate—as long as he’s behind the scenes. When it comes to speaking to strangers (or, let’s face it, speaking at all to almost anyone), Jamie’s a choke artist. There’s no way he’d ever knock on doors to ask people for their votes…until he meets Maya.

NO
Maya Rehman’s having the worst Ramadan ever. Her best friend is too busy to hang out, her summer trip is canceled, and now her parents are separating. Why her mother thinks the solution to her problems is political canvassing—with some awkward dude she hardly knows—is beyond her.

MAYBE SO
Going door to door isn’t exactly glamorous, but maybe it’s not the worst thing in the world. After all, the polls are getting closer—and so are Maya and Jamie. Mastering local activism is one thing. Navigating the cross-cultural romance of the century is another thing entirely.
Review:
I have some mixed feelings on this book. On the one hand, I love that there’s a book that encourages young people to become active in politics. It’s literally about two characters discovering what’s happening in their local govermenent and fighting their hardest to make a difference. Yes, there’s a love story. And there are side stories too with Jamie’s sister’s bat mitzvah, and Maya’s parent’s separation. But, at its core, this is a political story. And I loved this.
I also loved watching the friendship grow between Jamie and Maya. I love the idea of a relationship blooming over shared political interests. Maya gets Jamie out of his shell and teaches him that he can canvas and make speeches in front of people. And Jamie shows Maya that she can be honest to her friends and family and speak up about her feelings and what she deserves. They learn from each other and grow together. And because of this, I liked them together.
I also love the whole idea of a Jewish/Muslim love story. I love that they are fighting for the same things, and both are targeted by the same bigots in the story. I do believe this book was a work of peace, meant to bring people and cultures together. And I think in most regards the authors accomplished that here. I love that though both characters are so fundamentally different, they have a lot in common. If you like the show, the Office, you are in for a treat! The scene where they watch the Office together over the phone, was so adorable!
But, I do feel like some things were sugarcoated and this bothered me. At one point, when canvassing, a particularly awful human says some terrible things to Maya and she tells Jamie that no one has ever said anything like that to her before….I had to step back and go, “What? How is that possible?” I have been harassed for being Jewish, female, and other things, and my skin is white. I just find it hard to believe that Maya’s life could be that sheltered.
And then, I also felt like Jamie’s faith was understood a little more than Maya’s. I know I’m Jewish and I’m not an expert on Ramadan, but I know it’s about a lot more than fasting. And I kind of wish the book talked a little bit more about the holiday that Maya was recognizing for so long. So much emphasis was on Jamie’s sister celebration and what she had to do for it. But, all I learned about Maya’s holiday involved food (or the lack of it).
And then there was the ending. It made me feel uncomfortable –like her culture and her family’s wishes were being ignored, or they weren’t as important as Jamie’s culture. Don’t get me wrong. I love a romance as much as the next person. But…it just felt wrong to me. Maybe Jamie should have recognized Maya’s culture and respected what her family wanted or worked harder to get to know her family at least. I don’t know. It just rubbed me the wrong way, especially in today’s climate. And that’s sad because I know the authors were going for a book about peace and political activism. I just feel like it would have come across a lot stronger with a bit more editing and a new ending. I give it a 7/10.

Monday, June 29, 2020

A Good Week in Books (221)



What a weird year this is turning out to be. I say this after spending a large portion of my day online shopping for an office chair, something I should have done months ago….I’ve been splitting my work time between the library and home. And I kind of like it. I get a lot more work done, uninterrupted. And I’ve had drastically fewer migraines over the past couple of months. I’ve learned a lot about live streaming, digital copyright laws, and crafting. Now, I just need a chair that isn’t a kitchen table chair, so I’m more comfortable. I do miss working directly with children. Videos and screens are no replacement. But, I guess I’m adjusting? It’s crazy to know how much I can actually do from home.
I’ve been reading here and there. My reading schedule isn’t what I thought it would be while stuck in my house so much. I’ve been working a lot. And it’s not so easy to focus on one thing at a time. However, I’ve finished a couple of lighter YA books recently. I picked up a couple of older ARCs and I received one new book for review thanks to Swoon Reads. I hope everyone else is doing okay out there!
The new books:

With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo
American Street by Ibi Zoboi
Deadly Curious by Cindy Anstey

Saturday, June 20, 2020

The Phantom Twin by Lisa Brown



Summary from Goodreads:
A young woman is haunted by the ghost of her conjoined twin, in Lisa Brown's The Phantom Twin, a sweetly spooky graphic novel set in a turn-of-the-century sideshow.

Isabel and Jane are the Extraordinary Peabody Sisters, conjoined twins in a traveling carnival freak show—until an ambitious surgeon tries to separate them and fails, causing Jane's death.

Isabel has lost an arm and a leg but gained a ghostly companion: Her dead twin is now her phantom limb. Haunted, altered, and alone for the first time, can Isabel build a new life that's truly her own?
Review:
I’ve always loved twin stories. I think it all started with those terrible 90’s movies with the Olsen twins…So the idea of twins who are physically attached to each other? And there’s a ghost? And there are blurbs by Neil Gaiman and Ransom Riggs… Count me in.
This story is dark! I should have known, with those blurbs. First off, the twins have a surgery to separate and one of them dies right away and becomes a ghost that haunts the other (who now is missing an arm and a leg)! Isabel perseveres through it all though. She goes back to the circus, stands up to bullies, and falls in love.
I wasn’t expecting it to be so sad. I guess I was expecting more of an adventure/horror story. And I got this dark, sad, but equally riveting story of these twins who survived quite a lot. I found the freak show community to be really interesting. I’m glad the girls had a “home” there for as long as they did, even though it wasn’t always great.
The artwork in this book is what makes it though. The way the ghost is a mirror image of Isabel is just so creepy and spot-on. I love how the tattoo parlor was drawn too, and the circus. I easily could have kept turning pages and looked at more. It was really just stunning to look at. I loved it. All in all, this wasn’t what I was expecting. It was sadder and darker. I couldn’t put it down. I read it in one sitting. The art was gorgeous. And I really liked it. I give it an 8/10.

Friday, June 19, 2020

How to be Luminous by Harriet Reuter Hapgood


Summary from Goodreads:
When seventeen-year-old Minnie Sloe's mother disappears, so does her ability to see color. How can young artist Minnie create when all she sees is black-and-white?

Middle child Minnie and her two sisters have always been able to get through anything together: growing up without fathers, living the eccentric artist lifestyle, and riding out their mother's mental highs and lows. But when they lose their mother, Minnie wonders if she could lose everything: her family, her future, her first love . . . and maybe even her mind.
Review:
I remember being super impressed by Hapgood’s first YA book: The Square Root of Summer, so I was really excited to read another book by her. This wasn’t exactly what I was hoping for. It took me a while to get into it. I almost stopped and gave up on this book several times. It’s no that it was bad. I just wasn’t feeling it. It’s sad. And it reads like a lot like a lot of other YA novels where the main character is dealing with the loss of her mother. To be honest, it reminded me a lot of The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan. But, at least that one involves traveling to another country….This one is just really slow.
Eventually, I did slip into the story. I liked the story of the sisters. I found all of the scenes with the three of them together to be the most interesting. I love the idea of a house of artist sisters.
However, I just don’t understand how they couldn’t all communicate. Pretty much all of main character’s problems would have been fixed with more communication, and it drove me crazy that the sisters weren’t talking to each other. None of that seemed healthy. Also, the whole older sister not talking to her younger sister because of a boy….ugh…..and then the love triangle? There were some serious flaws going on here.
I found the color/art elements to be interesting. I liked all the images of the clay, the paintings, the dinosaurs, everything to be so interesting. I genuinely think they added cool details to the story, as compared to just being reasons for why the mom was “flighty,” as is often the case with artist parents in YA novels. And I guess that’s the full circle of my problems. So much of this book is stuff I have seen before. It’s a book of YA tropes: grief, uncommunicative family, loss of a parent, love triangle, magical realism, artistic parent figure who also suffers mental illness, etc. The author’s first book felt so fresh. And this one feels almost the opposite. I was expecting more.
I didn’t hate this. It was perfectly fine. I just wanted more than fine. And I wasn’t in the mood for a grief novel, during a pandemic (which isn’t really the book’s fault), but still. Not the best. I give this one a 6/10.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Giant Days: Not on the Test Edition, Fall Semester by John Allison, Lissa Treiman, and Max Sarin



Summary from Goodreads:
Going off to university is always a time of change and growth, but for Esther, Susan, and Daisy, things are about to get a little weird.

Susan, Esther, and Daisy started at university and became fast friends. Now, away from home for the first time, the girls, along with their male hall-mates, Ed and McGraw, find that college is more than academia and bad microwavable meals. In the face of holiday balls, hometown rivals, “personal experimentation,” and regretful hookups, they may be lucky just to make it past their freshman year.

Giant Days: Not On The Test Edition, written by John Allison (Bad Machinery, Scary Go Round) and illustrated by Disney artist Lissa Treiman and newcomer Max Sarin collects the first two volumes of the Eisner Award and Harvey Award-nominated series as well as issue one of the original webcomic in a deluxe hardcover.
Review:
So, I have to own up to something: I’m not good at accepting book recommendations. I’m a pro at giving them. Literally, it’s my job. I give them all the time. I take pride in recommending the right books for people. But, I’m so bad at getting to the books others recommend for me. I think part of it is that I love coming to books on my own. I love reading reviews. I love blogs, review journals, and articles. I hate being contacted by companies that want to do that part of my job for me…Seriously, it’s one of my favorite parts about being a librarian: finding good books and buying them.
However, I recognize this about myself. I feel bad that Nick, my husband, has a skyscraper-sized pile of books I’ve recommended to him, and I have practically two he’s recommended for me. So, I recently told him he could find me 3 graphic novels he thought I might enjoy. This was the book that was his top choice. So, I read it first. I haven’t gotten to the other choices yet….I will soon!
And, my verdict is that I really enjoyed it. This was a fun coming of age/college themed graphic novel. There were things I loved about it. I loved the friendship story. At it’s core, it’s about the three girls having each other’s backs no matter what. And I love this so much. I loved that it was more about their friendship than it was about the boys or the classes or anything else. I also loved that a lot of it felt real. I thought it was a good portrayal of the first year of college. There’s partying, test cramming, crushes, dancing, friends, awkwardness, finding yourself, and so much more and I feel like the writers understood this. It was the right amount social, right amount private, right amount experimental.
I also loved the art! I almost feel like the art is the more adult art of Raina Telgemeier. That’s it. This is the book to give to all the fans of Smile when they go to college! It has a similar aesthetic, but with more adult themes.
I didn’t love everything. Some parts of the story dragged for me. It could be that I was reading it in a format though where I had many, many volumes all attached together. So the flow felt a little off at points. The timeline was strange. Like it wasn’t fluid. You’d be in the middle of the school year, and then all of a sudden at the begiining….and then on vacation, and then back in the middle? I got a little confused.
Also there was one sort of fantasy fight scene in the cafeteria that didn’t make any sense to me. It just didn’t fit with the rest of the story, which isn’t fantasy at all. Like the whole giant book is contemporary fiction, and then out of nowhere, we have one fight scene where the girls are ninjas? Also, confusing.
Overall though, I loved it. I loved the girl power. I love the friendship story. I definitely plan on reading more. I know Nick owns more volumes, so I’ll definitely see where this story goes. And I’m curious to see what else he recommended for me. I give this one an 8/10.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Dragon Hoops by Gene Luen Yang



Summary from Goodreads:
In his latest graphic novel, New York Times bestselling author Gene Luen Yang turns the spotlight on his life, his family, and the high school where he teaches.

Gene understands stories—comic book stories, in particular. Big action. Bigger thrills. And the hero always wins.

But Gene doesn’t get sports. As a kid, his friends called him “Stick” and every basketball game he played ended in pain. He lost interest in basketball long ago, but at the high school where he now teaches, it's all anyone can talk about. The men’s varsity team, the Dragons, is having a phenomenal season that’s been decades in the making. Each victory brings them closer to their ultimate goal: the California State Championships.

Once Gene gets to know these young all-stars, he realizes that their story is just as thrilling as anything he’s seen on a comic book page. He knows he has to follow this epic to its end. What he doesn’t know yet is that this season is not only going to change the Dragons’s lives, but his own life as well.
Review:
I was not expecting to love this book! I am not a sports person at all. The crazy, cool, fancy book cover and the author’s name grabbed me and pulled me out of my regular reading order. I was just planning on reading a few pages to see what was up. And I read half of the book before realizing it. Excellent graphic novels have this magic to them. They can just suck me in and envelope me in a story without any real effort. I just wasn’t expecting that to happen with a book all about basketball.
I watch zero sports. My husband and I actively dislike them. We go on dinner/movie dates during the super bowl, even when it’s our state’s team playing. We are book and movie people. Nick likes playing video games. And I like crafts. But, neither of us enjoys watching or playing sports. I really thought there was zero chance I’d get sucked into this. I do really enjoy this author. I know he can tell a good story. I guess I was curious. Also, the book literally feels like a basketball. I can’t stop touching it. It has these deep grooves to it. If you can get a physical copy of it, go for it! It’s so much fun to touch. I guess the combo of the author’s name and the feel of the book drew me in.
I’m so glad it did. The book is kind of made up of three stories. It’s the story of Gene, the teacher, who also typically doesn’t like sports. It’s the story of the kids (aka: characters), who come from all over the world to play high school basketball at Gene’s school in the hopes of getting on to a college team. And these kids of various backgrounds and cultures are fascinating. The third story is of basketball itself. It’s the history of the sport, which I apparently knew nothing about. Yang goes into the sports creation and delves deep into its associations with poorer incomes, urban settings, and Catholic schools.
I weirdly found the history of the sport to be the most interesting. Not only am I not a sports person, but I’m not a nonfiction person either! However, learning about the socio-economic past and the racism behind the sport was so interesting –especially right now. Of course it makes sense that a sport that requires little to no equipment or space would be a sport that could easily be picked up by those with little to no funds.
And then there’s the kids who came from other countries to play basketball here! One came all the way from China. Other kids came from rougher local neighborhoods. The team is a mixed bag of cultures, religions, and races. It also takes place during a critical moment with the Black Lives Matter movement, and between reading that and the discussion about racism in the sport, I couldn’t help but find this book to be so critical in current topics for discussion today. There’s also a young basketball player who discuses the persecution of the people of his faith (the Sikh). I can see this book being used in classrooms to discuss many important topics.
At its core though, this is a book about the sport. It’s about the ups and downs of winning and loosing –how you can’t always predict the outcome. Good guys always beat the bad guys in comic books, Gene notes at one point in the story, but the sports team you want to win, might not defeat their foes. I love that Gene gets sucked into basketball in the book, and I, the reader, do too. The sport is its own comic book, its own superhero. I give this a 10/10.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

The Trials of Apollo Book 4: The Tyrant's Tomb by Rick Riordan



Summary from Goodreads:
In his penultimate adventure, a devastated but determined Apollo travels to Camp Jupiter, where he must learn what it is to be a hero, or die trying.

It's not easy being Apollo, especially when you've been turned into a human and banished from Olympus. On his path to restoring five ancient oracles and reclaiming his godly powers, Apollo (aka Lester Papadopoulos) has faced both triumphs and tragedies. Now his journey takes him to Camp Jupiter in the San Francisco Bay Area, where the Roman demigods are preparing for a desperate last stand against the evil Triumvirate of Roman emperors. Hazel, Reyna, Frank, Tyson, Ella, and many other old friends will need Apollo's aid to survive the onslaught. Unfortunately, the answer to their salvation lies in the forgotten tomb of a Roman ruler . . . someone even worse than the emperors Apollo has already faced.
Review:
I couldn’t remember why I postponed reading this one. I knew I had a subconscious reason for stalling. I just didn’t remember why. Then one day in quarantine, I found this on my TBR pile and was like, “How have I not read this yet? It came out ages ago!” Then, I started reading and a few pages in, I remembered….
A character I cared about died in the previous book! How did I forget this? I mean I must have subconsciously remembered because why else did it take me so long to get to this book? Also, I didn’t think in my wildest dreams that I would ever say this, but I think this series has become my favorite by Riordan….I love this series so much. Not only does Riordan combine both the Percy Jackson series and the Heroes of Olympus series in one here, but he also involves the Gods in a way he never has before.
I was not expecting to love Apollo. I grew to seriously love him by the last book. But in this book, my love ran even deeper! When I first started the series, I was entertained by him and often annoyed by him. I often skipped his haikus and found them trivial in the scope of the story. Now, he’s come so far. I love his character as much, if not more than the other heroes. And I read every haiku! I cried with Apollo at the beginning when he had to explain a certain death.
I actually cried with Apollo a couple more times in this book. This book really messes with your heart. These heroes are not safe. And they are all (as always) willing to die, to save everyone. So, you never know what’s going to happen! People need to be saved all the time in these books! There are no breaks. Literally. This book is jam-packed with high stakes battles, car accidents, killer unicorns, evil birds, silent Gods, prophecies, the undead, terrible war wounds, bombs, explosions, and I know I’m not even remembering it all. It was crazy. It was hard to put this book down.
I’m so glad I finally read this. I cannot wait for the final book. The last book is taking place in New York. So, I know more old friends will be there. But, also, I just need to know how the prophecy ends. Does Apollo finally get to go back? More importantly, do I want him to? And what’s the last haiku going to be? I give this one a 9/10.

Monday, June 15, 2020

The One and Only Bob Katherine Applegate


Summary from Goodreads:
Bob sets out on a dangerous journey in search of his long-lost sister with the help of his two best friends, Ivan and Ruby. As a hurricane approaches and time is running out, Bob finds courage he never knew he had and learns the true meaning of friendship and family.
Review:
I discovered Ivan rather late in the game. I feel like I only just listened to the audio book, on my short drives to and from work. But, time feels so strange now. 2020 has got to be one of the strangest years of my life. And time just doesn’t seem to work as it normally would. How is it the middle of June right now?
I had no idea there was going to be a sequel to Ivan! It was lucky happenstance that I chose to read The One and Only Ivan just months prior to the release of this sequel. It was also extraordinarily lucky that I happened to open an email that mentioned a webinar with the author! I can get what seems like hundreds of emails a day in (in my work account). I often delete emails that mention webinars because I don’t have the time to attend them, let alone read about them. However due to working so much from home this year and having a little more time for digital, professional development, I read the email about a Q and A session with Katherine Applegate, and I was shocked to learn about this sequel!
I went ahead and pre-ordered the book right away for my library, and got in line for the eAudio. I attended the webinar of course, and remembered why this author was just so amazing. She has this way of getting into the heads of her animal characters. She really can think how you’d imagine a dog or a gorilla might think. And it was so wonderful to hear her talk about Bob and Ivan, and the upcoming movie (which I also didn’t know about!).
Reading this sequel was a special treat. I had no idea it was coming, or that I might even have wanted it to begin with. But, I think I secretly did. It was a little bit more closure than we were allowed before. It was a few more answers to questions I never hoped I could possibly go back to.
Bob was never my favorite character. It was fun hearing Katherine Applegate talk about how he was hers. She saw him as the comic relief. But, I never viewed him as such. I found him a little hard to love. I immediately took to Ruby and Ivan. But, I had to grow to love Bob, and even then, there were always parts to him that bothered me a little. I guess this book filled in those parts. I got to see fully what made him the way he was. His story is a sad one. And he’s such a great a character. I’m glad I had the chance to get to know him more.
Did I love this book as much as the first one? No. I think part of the reason Ivan was so magical was because there aren’t many gorilla books out there. Ivan was truly one of a kind. I have read a million and one dog books. There are now even adult books written from the dog’s perspective. And in that regard, this felt a little less special –a little less fresh. Bob isn’t as unique as Ivan. I know that’s not necessarily fair. How can I compare a dog to a gorilla? Though, it is what it is. This book did have a lot of action in it, possibly more than the first one. There were natural weather disasters, rescue missions, family dramas, and lots of new characters. The reunions with old characters were definitely the standout moments for me. I can see kids loving this book just as much as the first one. It just wasn’t quite as special for me. I give it an 8/10

Saturday, May 2, 2020

The Betrothed by Kiera Cass



Summary from Goodreads:
When King Jameson declares his love for Lady Hollis Brite, Hollis is shocked—and thrilled. After all, she’s grown up at Keresken Castle, vying for the king’s attention alongside other daughters of the nobility. Capturing his heart is a dream come true.

But Hollis soon realizes that falling in love with a king and being crowned queen may not be the happily ever after she thought it would be. And when she meets a commoner with the mysterious power to see right into her heart, she finds that the future she really wants is one that she never thought to imagine.
Review:
This was a mixed bag for me. First off, Kiera Cass is always so lucky with her book covers! This one is so pretty! All of her books are so pretty. I always pick them up, always. I really enjoyed the Selection series (at least the first three). And when I had the chance to pick up this ARC, I went for it –no regrets.
I read this book remarkably fast. It reads a bit like a typical royal romance novel. But, I guess that’s what I was in the mood for when I read it. It has some things in it that I really don’t like (ie: insta-love, ignorant main character, mean girls, awful parents, etc.) but I never once thought I didn’t want to keep reading. Something in this book grabbed me and allowed me to escape the craziness that is the world right now, so I just went with it. Sometimes, you just need a typical romance.
Also, sometimes I don’t mind an ignorant main character if she learns. And Hollis did learn. She accepted that there was a lot she didn’t know. And she grew. I liked that about her. She was redeemable. I never liked her best friend (aka: mean girl), but I don’t think I was supposed to. I also never liked her parents (they were really awful). And I never fully got behind the instant-love attraction she had with Silas, the guy who could compete with the King, who took up the first half of the novel.  But, again, I went a long with it. I wanted a romance novel, and I got one.
Then, right when I thought I knew how this was all resolving, BAM, major plot twist. And I actually found myself crying. I didn’t even realize I was so invested. But, yikes, what a crazy ending. So, I guess I liked being surprised. But, I almost didn’t want that. I wanted the fluffy, expected romance I was given for the first 95% of the book. So, I have seriously mixed feeling for everything. I do want to know what will happen next and see if my guess will for everything will come to light. But, I also feel a little betrayed by that twist. It was brutal.
All in all, I mostly enjoyed this. It’s not the best book. It was a nice distraction for the time (at leas until that crazy ending). It’s not as good as The Selection. I will probably continue with the series when more books come. I will definitely be attracted to the next cover. I give this one a 6/10.

Friday, May 1, 2020

A Castle in the Clouds by Kerstin Gier



Summary from Goodreads:
A Castle in the Clouds follows a girl as she navigates secrets, romance, and danger in an aging grand hotel.

Way up in the Swiss mountains, there's an old grand hotel steeped in tradition and faded splendor. Once a year, when the famous New Year's Eve Ball takes place and guests from all over the world arrive, excitement returns to the vast hallways.

Sophie, who works at the hotel as an intern, is busy making sure that everything goes according to plan. But unexpected problems keep arising, and some of the guests are not who they pretend to be. Very soon, Sophie finds herself right in the middle of a perilous adventure--and at risk of losing not only her job, but also her heart.
Review:
This book was a delight! Mix in a full cast of a quirky Stars Hollow type community, a Grand Budapest Hotel-type setting, a witty main character, a forbidden cat, a love triangle, diamonds, and mayhem, and you only partially get the magic of this book.
There was a little bit of a slow beginning to this novel, but it didn’t matter. I was so in love with the crazy setting and characters that literally nothing could happen for ages and I wouldn’t have put the book down. There’s a definite quirky Gilmore Girls vibe to this weird hotel. There are strange characters make this hotel come alive. And if you are not into weird people and their stories, this might not be the book for you
That being said, eventually the plot leads to a crazy heist/kidnapping/mystery and it left me going “how did we end up here?” but in a really good way. This book had a lot of unexpected twists and turns, both literally and figuratively. The hotel had secret passages and plenty of hiding spots….
I loved Sophie. I loved how she got along with the rest of the staff. I loved her rocky relationship with some of the other maids. I love how she made friends with animals and learned the ins and outs of the hotel. I found the whole book to be fascinating, and I was so sad when it was over.
I found the romance to be fun too. It wasn’t my favorite element, but I like that was there. I’d watch this movie. I really enjoyed other books by this author, and I’m so glad she continues to write for a YA audience. I hope she does more. I give this one a 10/10. I highly recommend it, especially if you’re looking for something light to escape into.

Friday, April 24, 2020

The Kingdom of Back by Marie Lu



Summary from Goodreads:
Two siblings. Two brilliant talents. But only one Mozart.

Born with a gift for music, Nannerl Mozart has just one wish--to be remembered forever. But even as she delights audiences with her masterful playing, she has little hope she'll ever become the acclaimed composer she longs to be. She is a young woman in 18th century Europe, and that means composing is forbidden to her. She will perform only until she reaches a marriageable age--her tyrannical father has made that much clear.

And as Nannerl's hope grows dimmer with each passing year, the talents of her beloved younger brother, Wolfgang, only seem to shine brighter. His brilliance begins to eclipse her own, until one day a mysterious stranger from a magical land appears with an irresistible offer. He has the power to make her wish come true--but his help may cost her everything.

In her first work of historical fiction, #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu spins a lush, lyrically-told story of music, magic, and the unbreakable bond between a brother and sister.
Review:
This book was not what I was expecting it to be. I love Marie Lu’s suspenseful dystopias. And while I read the summary for this book before reading it, I was not expecting the beautiful language I received. I guess I thought I’d be reading a high-stakes historical thriller….I don’t know why exactly. It’s just what I’m used to. I was pleasantly surprised here. This was not that.
This book was beautiful and a lot slower. It was a lush, musical fairy tale. It read like a classic fairy tale. It sucks you in. It’s dark and magical. It first reads as a feminist historical fiction novel, the best kind of historical fiction. And just when you think you understand the rhythm of it all, bam…there’s a magical fairy world where the trees are upside down, and brother and sister must complete dark quests like deceiving underwater witches.
There’s also this crazy musical prodigy element to the story. Getting into the heads of two musical prodigies is just fascinating. Watching children make musical masterpieces is just beyond fascinating. I loved watching the brother/sister relationship develop and grow, and I super loved watching them encourage each other. I like the explanation for why people know Mozart just by the last name. I also love that the brother and sister didn’t always get along. Their relationship seemed real. They were competitive, but supportive.
I love all the interwoven historical facts with magical elements. The tidbits of fantasy made the dark realness of things like sickness at that time period easier to read (especially while reading this book during a pandemic…).

The one thing that was kind of missing from this book was romance. In fact, it almost mostly reads as a middle grade book because the main characters are children for most of the novel. There’s a slight romantic element, but it’s mostly nonexistent. However, I guess the characters are teens for the last bit of the story. And then there’s an epilogue at the end (23 years later). So age, and timing is a little strange. But, I guess it makes sense in regards to fairy tales in general. It reads more with the timing of a fairy tale.
All in all, I really enjoyed this book. It’s unlike Marie Lu’s other books. But, I still loved this. It’s more fairy tale than historical fiction. But, I loved the historical fiction elements as well. Learning about musical prodigies was really interesting. I did feel like romance was missing.  But, otherwise, this was a really interesting, magical escape. I give it a 9/10.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

A Good Week in Books (220)



I had a nice book week. I finished one historical fantasy. And I’m half way through a fun contemporary. I received 3 new books for review. Thank you, Macmillan. Never have I been happier to receive new books. I need all the happy book packages I can get right now. I hope everyone is doing well!
The new books:


Late to the Party
by Kelly Quindlen
The Silence of Bones by June Hur
Seven Endless Forests by April Genevieve Tucholke

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Lucky Caller by Emma Mills



Summary from Goodreads:
When Nina decides to take a radio broadcasting class her senior year, she expects it to be a walk in the park. Instead, it’s a complete disaster.

The members of Nina's haphazardly formed radio team have approximately nothing in common. And to maximize the awkwardness her group includes Jamie, a childhood friend she'd hoped to basically avoid for the rest of her life.

The show is a mess, internet rumors threaten to bring the wrath of two fandoms down on their heads, and to top it all off Nina's family is on the brink of some major upheaval.

Everything feels like it's spiraling out of control―but maybe control is overrated?

With the warmth, wit, intimate friendships, and heart-melting romance she brings to all her books, Emma Mills crafts a story about believing in yourself, owning your mistakes, and trusting in human connection in Lucky Caller.
Review:
As I mentioned on Goodreads, This wasn't my favorite Emma Mills book. It took me a long time to get into this, and I almost gave up on it twice because of the whole story revolving around a school project trope...which isn't my thing. However, the love story? Totally my thing. It was Jane Austen and Rainbow Rowell and Becky Abertalli at the their best kind of love story. If you're feeling iffy about the beginning of this one, keep going because the love story is worth it. And the school/radio project gets better too.
I feel like I didn’t connect as emotionally to the characters in this Emma Mills book, as I normally would. I didn’t really click with Nina, the main character. Why was she so dead-set on not hosting the show? What was she actually into? Everyone around her seemed to be interested in things, but she seemed to have almost no interests at all…She was kind of boring. Her older sister’s story was kind of boring too (I’ve read/seen it a million times), but at least she had a story, and an interest in something.
I liked all the flashbacks to the fantasy game the sisters used to play. And I liked when the older sisters and Jamie all came together for the younger sister when she needed them. Maybe at times it just felt like the author was trying to do too much? Like if the book is supposed to be all about the radio show, commit to that. Don’t then also have this parent story arc. The whole listening to her mom call into the radio and meet her dad seemed kind of forced and didn’t add to the rest of the story for me.
The part of the story that I loved was the love story. I loved Nina and Jamie’s second chance. I can totally believe something like this happening to a couple because something like this happened to me (minus the reconnecting part). I used to imagine what it would be like if I reconnected with that childhood crush that I messed it up with…I don’t really do that any more. But, I love this trope. I love that these two have this chance. And that everyone around them sees their connection. I love the story about the birthday cake. I love that Jamie dresses up for Nina’s sister. I love that he fell in the pool for the game. I love that they can just talk by looking at each other, and can play stupid hypothetical games. They’re finding each other again after years of separation reminded me a little of Persuasion, and I loved this connection. I also love romances that begin as friendships because so many of mine began that way.
All in all, the radio show/school project plot line wasn’t my favorite. I also never really loved Nina as much as I wanted to. I did love the sisterly flashbacks and the fantasy games they played. And I loved the romance. The romance made my rating for this book much higher than it otherwise would have been. I give it an 8/10.

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Kairos by Ulysse Malassagne



Summary from Goodreads:
In Kairos, French graphic novelist Ulysse Malassagne turns the typical damsel-in-distress narrative on its head. With stunning art, epic battle scenes, and unexpected plot twists, Kairos forces you to question where to draw the line between hero and antihero.

Nills and Anaelle are looking forward to their first night in their rustic cabin in the woods. But the couple's idyllic vacation is suddenly thrown into turmoil when a strange flash of light bursts from the fireplace. A portal appears, and out of it spill dragon-like creatures that are armed to the teeth. They grab Anaelle and flee back through the portal, leaving a distraught Nills with a sudden decision: stay behind, or leap through after her?

He leaps. And that's when things get really weird.
Review:
This book was a surprise. I wasn’t expecting to get into as much as I did. I read it in one sitting. Most of that is because of how gorgeous the art is. The opening pages are like the opening scenes to My Neighbor Totoro –lush, green, and you know something magical is coming. Unfortunately, most of the magic that comes is nothing like a cute, fluffy forest spirit. It’s dark, violent, and comes attached to war. However, there are dragons.
The book starts off in a sort of romantic context with a couple escaping to a little cabin in the middle of nowhere for what looks like a mini vacation. However when night comes, out of the fireplace, drops a few dragon soldiers who kidnap the girl –whose actually an escaped dragon princess. The dragons come to take her home because she’s the last heir. The girl’s unsuspecting boyfriend follows, in effort to rescue her. He treks through a dragon land, where there’s a rebellion in the works and war in the background. And the longer he’s there, the more dragon-y he becomes, and the more violent/angry too.
The book becomes a bit of a time crunch. Can he find his girlfriend in time before she does something she really doesn’t want to do? (I don’t want to spoil here). It’s violent. There’s lots of fighting. There’s lots of dragons. There’s politics, hierarchies, prisons, and reunions. There’s also a surprising ending. It’s not my favorite kind of fantasy and I’m not sure I really connected with the characters, but the artwork was just so compelling.
I think over time, I could love the princess. But, I’d have to get to know her a bit more. It’s certainly not what I thought it was going to be. And I am curious to see how the series will continue. I definitely want to see more of this artwork. I give this an 8/10.

Friday, April 10, 2020

Pages & Co: Tilly and the Lost Fairy Tales by Anna James



Summary from Goodreads:
A magical adventure to delight the imagination. The curl-up-on-the-sofa snuggle of a series from a uniquely talented author.

Tilly Pages is a bookwanderer; she can travel inside books, and even talk to the characters she meets there. But Tilly’s powers are put to the test when fairytales start leaking book magic and causing havoc . . .

On a wintery visit to Paris, Tilly and her best friend Oskar bravely bookwander into the land of fairytales to find that characters are getting lost, stories are all mixed-up, and mysterious plot holes are opening without warning. Can Tilly work out who, or what, is behind the chaos so everyone gets their happily-ever-after?

The second enthralling tale in the bestselling PAGES CO series.
Review:
I wrote on Goodreads: This is even better than the first book! If you’re looking for a light, magical escape right now, look no further. These books are charming, full of book magic and loaded with adventure.
I picked this book up on my honeymoon in Paris. It’s signed. And I didn’t realize it was a sequel. I ended up traveling all the way back to the same bookstore on the same day for their last copy of book 1. I’m so glad I did. These books are adorable. I thought I hit cuteness overload with book 1. But, I liked this one even more. The first book reminded me a lot of Inkheart by Cornelia Funke. This sequel reminds me more of Into the Woods mixed with Chris Colfer’s The Land of Stories. Fairy tales are made to be broken, dissected, and twisted and Anna James does such a great job of it. Some of the humor even reminded me of Shrek.
Tilly and Oskar are developed friends now. I love their level of trust, honesty, and camaraderie. One won’t do something stupid without the other. I also like that the balance of power is more even. It becomes clear that Oscar also has a family of book wanderers. He’s meant for this life too. He doesn’t have to rely on Tilly for all of the fun, and I like that this makes things fairer. He’s not just her sidekick.
At first, I was a little overwhelmed with the politics of the adults. So much was going on at the library. I know I was supposed to feel that way. I was supposed to see things through the lens of a child. But, it made me lose too much focus and almost made me put the book down. I’m glad it didn’t. I loved the Paris adventure. I loved the fairy tale adventures. The gossiping bears, the helpful Jack, the ridiculous princes, the crack in the sky, all of it! I literally never put the book down for a second of the fairy tale parts…or the Paris parts now that I think of it.
There were some plot twists that kept me guessing with the adults too. I liked that the story didn’t really resolve as much as the first one did. This book definitely opened more things up for the rest of the series. I hope there’s more than one book to come after this one. Honestly, the whole book world that is created in these stories is just so fantastic and interesting. Mix in the politics, the limitations, the fictional characters, the magic, the travel, and everything else, and they’re just plain brilliant. I like that the characters aren’t simple either. I actually felt bad for the bad guy in this one. And there’s so many layers to each person here. I can’t wait to read more. I give this one a 10/10.

Thursday, April 9, 2020

A Good Week in Books (219)



I’ve had a nice book week. I received 2 more for review (thanks, Macmillan). I’m finally getting back to a more normal reading routine! Let’s see if I can keep this up. I read one middle grade, one YA, and one graphic novel this week. This was all in a week with 2 migraines, lots of anxiety about the state of the world, and tons of pollen taking over the neighborhood and threatening my sinuses. Maybe I’m getting more accustomed to this socially distanced state of normal?
I’m adjusting to online grocery shopping, Facebook live story times, Facebook live craft videos, Zoom work meetings, Zoom family meetings, Zoom friends meetings, actually having time for uninterrupted professional development webinars, and actually having time overall for uninterrupted things like reading book reviews, working on the website and developing the online summer reading program. Quiet, uninterrupted work time is nice. But also, my kitchen chair is not the best work chair. And I miss people. And going to stores. And restaurants. And my library. But, I’m lucky. I have my health and my job. And this blog. And lots of books to read.  And I keep telling myself this isn’t forever. This isn’t forever.
The new books:

Little Universes by Heather Demetrios
Check Please Book 2: Sticks & Scones by Ngozi Ukazu

Friday, April 3, 2020

Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare


Summary from Goodreads:
Chain of Gold is the first novel in a new trilogy that stars the Shadowhunters of Edwardian London.

Welcome to Edwardian London, a time of electric lights and long shadows, the celebration of artistic beauty and the wild pursuit of pleasure, with demons waiting in the dark. For years there has been peace in the Shadowhunter world. James and Lucie Herondale, children of the famous Will and Tessa, have grown up in an idyll with their loving friends and family, listening to stories of good defeating evil and love conquering all. But everything changes when the Blackthorn and Carstairs families come to London…and so does a remorseless and inescapable plague.

James Herondale longs for a great love, and thinks he has found it in the beautiful, mysterious Grace Blackthorn. Cordelia Carstairs is desperate to become a hero, save her family from ruin, and keep her secret love for James hidden. When disaster strikes the Shadowhunters, James, Cordelia and their friends are plunged into a wild adventure which will reveal dark and incredible powers, and the true cruel price of being a hero…and falling in love.
Review:
This wasn’t my favorite Cassandra Clare story. To be honest, I’m not in the best mindset. My brain is in a constant state of worry about the world. And focusing on reading was hard. That being said, Clare has always been one of my favorites and I was relying on her in my time of need. She didn’t quite do it for me with this one.

I was excited to read about Tessa and Will’s children. How special they had to be! I of course liked them. James was haunted like Will was. But, in a different way. He reminded me a lot of Pip from Great Expectations. He had to be inspired from him. His relationship with Grace was too much like Pip and Estella. There was even a Miss Havisham character and a decaying house. And I’m an English major/nerd. I love Charles Dickens. I loved this. This was Great Expectations on supernatural steroids.  Imagine Satis House with real demons and portals. Also each chapter has a literary quote to start it. This book felt the most literary of all of Clare’s novels to date. Characters were quoting Shakespeare and referencing Oscar Wilde. I loved this.
I didn’t like the whole kind of enchantment that James was under. This plot device has been done too many times by Clare before. We all know what it is. I almost spoiled it just now, but on the rare instance someone doesn’t know….I’ll be good. But come on. We’ve been through this with Jace so many times. I almost wish it was just a matter of him truly loving two people. That would be more interesting at this point.
Lucie was interesting too. I liked her almost more than the main character/love interest: Cordelia. Cordelia is badass. Don’t get me wrong. But, she’s almost too good. What are her flaws? Seriously, I can’t find any. She fights for her father, does everything for her new friends, is braver than everyone, kills with a sword, dances better than anyone, and defends her jerkface brother.  Lucie of course is interesting because of her parents, but there’s also just something about her unique personality and I want to know her more. And I guess this is what Clare still excels at: her characters.
However, the rest of the rat pack fell a little flat. The other boys kind of blended together for me. They were already a team with inside jokes, but I didn’t get to see any of that develop. There’s a drunk character, a scientist, and another guy….and I kept mixing them all up. Cordelia’s brother was interesting because he was a total Slytherin jerk, but I also loved him. He was in a love with a man after power in the Clave (aka: someone who’d never come out of the closet). And then Magnus appears! But of course he has to save the day again. I’ve read this plot line too many times too…I almost want to read about him screwing something up, or doing something else to the story.
All in all, there’s a lot of repetition now with the plot. I do still want to know some of these people/characters. Clare wheels you in with these troubled souls and interesting backgrounds for people. I just wish she’d let these people have different adventures and love stories from her other characters. I like this time in history. I love the literary references. I probably will keep reading this series, even though I’m pretty sure I can call exactly how it will end. I give this one a 7/10.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

A Good Week in Books (218)



I’m finding the stress of the world not conducive for reading. My attention span is too short. I did get through one big fantasy book this week. Thank goodness, though it took me a long time. And I’m a good way into a light middle grade book. I’m not sure I could a read a book that isn’t light right now. I am so glad for my health though. It has been super rainy outside. My only time out of the house has mostly been for walks, but with the bad weather and now the pollen, I’m thinking maybe I’ll be reading more? I hope everyone reading this is healthy too. Thank goodness for books!
I received 2 new books for review, courtesy of Macmillan. Both look really cool. Maybe I just need something new to try.
 
Kairos
by Ulysse Malassacne
Almost, Maine
by John Cariani

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Socery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson


Summary from Goodreads:
All sorcerers are evil. Elisabeth has known that as long as she has known anything. Raised as a foundling in one of Austermeer’s Great Libraries, Elisabeth has grown up among the tools of sorcery—magical grimoires that whisper on shelves and rattle beneath iron chains. If provoked, they transform into grotesque monsters of ink and leather. She hopes to become a warden, charged with protecting the kingdom from their power.

Then an act of sabotage releases the library’s most dangerous grimoire. Elisabeth’s desperate intervention implicates her in the crime, and she is torn from her home to face justice in the capital. With no one to turn to but her sworn enemy, the sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn, and his mysterious demonic servant, she finds herself entangled in a centuries-old conspiracy. Not only could the Great Libraries go up in flames, but the world along with them.

As her alliance with Nathaniel grows stronger, Elisabeth starts to question everything she’s been taught—about sorcerers, about the libraries she loves, even about herself. For Elisabeth has a power she has never guessed, and a future she could never have imagined.
Review:
This was the book I took with me to Chicago. It was my travel book. It kept me occupied on both flights, and I’m so glad I had it with me. Traveling home back to Boston on a mostly empty flight was a bit nerve wrecking. And I needed a good book distraction. This was definitely a good distraction.
Basically, I haven’t been loving most of the YA fantasy books I’ve been reading lately. So, I was more than happy to come across this one. More than one friend had recommended it to me. And more than one harsh critic had given it a good review, so I actually purchased it a short while ago (and I’ve been on a mostly well-applied book buying ban). I’m glad I own this one though, cause I definitely think I’ll re-read it again at some point.
It’s a fantasy romance about a girl who works in a library, where the books are alive….why wouldn’t I love this? Seriously, I’ve had dreams about these libraries since reading this. I want to go there. I know the books and magic of this world are kind of evil…but I don’t care. I want to go there.  I liked the blurred edges between good and evil in this book. I also found the world building to be really interesting and unexpected. The whole thing about magicians making deals with demons and books turning into monsters. I’ve never read anything quite like this. Also the librarians are kind of a bit like nuns…Such an interesting take on books and knowledge and the power of words, and those responsible for the keeping of knowledge.
I found the magical world obviously a lot more exciting than the enclosed library world –but a lot of that has to deal with how little the main character knew about the world until she was outside in it. There’s a bit of a “chosen one” kind of trope going on, but it has to do with living among books your whole life so I accepted it, 100%. I guess the one thing I did not love was how un-flawed the main character was. She was too good. Like she always put the good of the world before herself. She killed monsters, saved the town, helped save everyone and never thought or cared about if she’d be imprisoned or made homeless or punished for her actions. And I get that some people and characters can be rather selfless, but this was overkill to me.
I did love the romance. I loved the banter between the two of them so much. I love that they both had to learn that their relationship was what it was. I loved how brave they both were. I loved all the action scenes with the two of them. There was no nonsense about her being a girl and unable to fight. She kicked butt with her sword and became known for it. I also loved the magic. I forgot how much I missed magic in stories. I need more fantasy stories with magic in them.
All in all this was a great distraction book. If you need a good distraction right now (and let’s face it, who doesn’t?) this is a good one. It’s a nice slow burn romance. The magic and world building were great. Overall I really enjoyed this. I give it a 9/10.

Monday, March 23, 2020

The King of Crows by Libba Bray



Summary from Goodreads:
The breath-taking finale to the epic New York Times bestseller, The Diviners, from Printz winner and beloved author, Libba Bray.

After the horrifying explosion that claimed one of their own, the Diviners find themselves wanted by the US government, and on the brink of war with the King of Crows.

While Memphis and Isaiah run for their lives from the mysterious Shadow Men, Isaiah receives a startling vision of a girl, Sarah Beth Olson, who could shift the balance in their struggle for peace. Sarah Beth says she knows how to stop the King of Crows-but, she will need the Diviners' help to do it.

Elsewhere, Jericho has returned after his escape from Jake Marlowe's estate, where he has learned the shocking truth behind the King of Crow's plans. Now, the Diviners must travel to Bountiful, Nebraska, in hopes of joining forces with Sarah Beth and to stop the King of Crows and his army of the dead forever.

But as rumors of towns becoming ghost towns and the dead developing unprecedented powers begin to surface, all hope seems to be lost.

In this sweeping finale, The Diviners will be forced to confront their greatest fears and learn to rely on one another if they hope to save the nation, and world from catastrophe...
Review:
As I mentioned on Goodreads, reading Libba Bray is remembering the power of words. She will always be my favorite author. The first chapter was so good, I had to read it out loud to my husband, who had no knowledge of the series...and he loved it. Nick is now reading book 1! The power of Libba Bray’s beautiful, beautiful language!
I needed time both to digest this book and then to think about it after finishing it. It’s not the typical YA book. It’s intense. There’s some deep, dark, awful stuff in here that tears your heart into a millions tiny pieces and then plays with it….There’s the KKK. There’s more death. There’s sacrifice. There’s so much hardship for these characters that you come to love like family.
However, there are also reunions. There’s a marriage proposal! There are epic super powered battles. There are surprisingly good strangers that do good things. There are love stories. There’s live music. There’s traveling cross-country on the adventure of a lifetime. There’s also lots of fun supernatural stuff like ghosts, mythology, super powers, and apocalyptic battles.
This book is just so profoundly beautiful. Of course, Bray excels at character development. She now also is a master at setting. The landscape of the America she writes is a character of it’s own. America practically has its own heartbeat. I felt like I was on that farm with Evie. I was living on that river with those refugees. I was smelling the air on the train ride west. I was touching the grass of the circus. I felt it like I was there.
And the words! I think my favorite character is still Memphis. He makes a name for himself as he’s traveling. He calls himself the Voice of Tomorrow. He tells stories, and writes poetry everywhere he goes. Some of them get published in the newspaper. Some of them he just voices out loud. After one such story, a kid asks Memphis what happens at the end of everything. Memphis explains:
            “I suppose that depends on us,” Memphis answered. “We’ve got to be the heroes of our own stories. Sometimes that means reading the past for clues. Sometimes that means peering as much as you can into the future to light the way. Sometimes you go to work where no one can see you until you’re ready to be seen. Sometimes you got to walk in dreams so you know what a dream feels like, so you know the shape of your own longings. Other times, you got to bring the fire of your anger and righteousness! And sometimes you got to heal the things that are broken or sick. Even when it scares you. Even when you feel like walking away and pretending like you never saw the sickness. Don’t need special powers to do any of that. The truth is, the story never ends. It’s always happening. But whether it trips toward evil” –and here Memphis held out a fist –“or good,” he said, “offering the other, “well, now. That’s up to all of us. We are all storytellers telling the story, adding our piece” (248).
This book is powerful. In a way, it’s about the power of words and stories and how the media and how artists and also how influential people shape the stories we all know. It’s about doing the right thing, even if it means going against the story everyone else thinks is true. It’s about getting people to understand the truth for what it is and to listen to the stories of others. There are so many ways to dissect this novel. I could compare it to what’s going on today. I could talk about racism, about fake news, corrupt power, about history, about illness, etc.
This book is extraordinarily relevant to what is happening today. It’s a joy to read because of the action, supernatural suspense, character development, and setting. The language and writing style are just unbelievable poetic and gorgeous. I wish I could write like this. I highly recommend this book and this series to anyone really. I can’t wait for Nick to read all the books, so I can talk to him more about them. I give this a 10/10.