Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Honestly, I don't know how to review this book. My emotions are everywhere after finishing this book, and as much as I wanted to write something comprehensive, I doubt that'll happen. I was first introduced to this story from a sampler arc at a Feirce Reads author breakfast at Bookcon 2017. I didn’t know Tomi Adeyemi. I didn’t know that I would love her story, of her quirky attitude. But then I did. Finally I got an arc and got to meet her again at New York Comic Con 2017 and I loved her even more from the conversation we had about the story there. I fell In love with this story by first finding one of my new favorite authors. And a new favorite story followed close behind. Tomi has stated time and time again that this is a story inspired by her West-African heritage, which seeps through the writing and the world and the atmosphere she creates.  
It's an all black cast of characters. All black. 

Let's take a moment. It's rare, if ever barely seen. It’s something I have never seen. And even if it's out there, those stories do not get the same type of exposure as books with an all-white cast of characters. And the fact that this book was an insight into her world and that it is so hyped now, makes me so goddamn elated. Now I know what you might think, I am a white, middle class woman. But I am also a minority, who is passionate about diversity. It’s SO important. This book was so important, and I am so stunned that it is getting the publicity and the fame it deserves. I absolutely LOVED that aspect of the novel and that it was a fantasy novel as well. It was a shock in the best way possible. Since it did surprise me, I reflected on myself and the books that I've read since I was a child. I think it goes to show how I, as a reader, have become accustomed to seeing white characters, the white narrative to the point where if characters of different backgrounds are included, it stands out and is notable. 

I hope for the day diversity becomes the norm in novels and is celebrated in our world. Thankfully, the publishing world is slowly changing as well. Books like these absolutely need to be supported and published more and become more accessible to readers, especially in this current climate, where empathy should be a more common trait. Books like these expose us to other worlds, other faiths and races, general differences that exist within us, and reinforces the idea that difference is good. Difference is what this world is about and what should be accepted, without any qualms. 

As for the story, it is heavily political, focusing on themes of class, race, oppression, privilege and police brutality and she does not shy away from violence. I love that Adeyemi did that; write a YA fantasy novel that looks at our modern reality and infuse those issues in a story, giving readers a glimpse into the reality of being black or a minority. And on top of it, built this in depth fantasy world that took me to all sorts of other places. The magic was fantastic and ridiculously fascinating. Rather than expanding on it, I'll leave it out for you to find out. It is gorgeous. This book was phenomenal, and so magical. The plot was deliciously fast-paced and had me on the edge of my seat, especially towards the end of the book. I was excited to pick the book up each time I put it down.

And the characters!!! 

I want to go back and read this book again! I'm so excited to see how this story will develop. The second I finished this (500 page book in literally no time may I add) I looked at it and went “Okay, wheres book 2?” Tomi Adeyemi is a force to be reckoned with, and I am SO excited to watch her journey from the begining! Everybody needs to read this book. Everybody!

This was my favorite book of 2018, can't wait to see whats going to try and top this this year.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Artemis by Andy Weir

artemisI only finish one book this year, Artemis by Andy Weir can be it and I wont even be mad. Author Andy Weir goes into a lot of depth and detail in his world building of a city on the moon that has adopted Kenyan time, with its 5 bubbles named after famous astronauts with their own distinct identities and linked by tunnels. What made this book such a great read for me is the complex character of 26 year old Jazz Bashara, a woman that breaks every stereotype of a Muslim Saudi Arabian female. Jazz is intelligent, sassy, witty and knows how to hold a grudge. I think what stuck with me the most is this is the first time I have found a book portraying a main character close to my age. Why is it that young adult books are alllllll about teenagers? Weir did a good job of portraying a young adult woman, and the teenage rebellion we still feel in our twenties. She has the street smarts to be so much more than a porter, but she is drawn to testing herself outside the conventional boundaries of society and sidestepping the expectations others have for her, particularly her father. For her, the thrill is in the challenge and the smuggling allows her to supplement her meager earnings as a porter which allows only for her to reside in a 'coffin', where she can sleep, but otherwise has to share communal facilities with others. Artemis follows Jazz through her day to day life as a poor, young adult who smuggles illegal goods onto the moon from earth for the rich people who can afford to live comfortably and vacation there. She’s close to being homeless, which is illegal where she lives. Artemis is a “small town” on a distant futures moon and like any other small town it has its secrets, its schemes and struggles.  

One day,  A steady client of her off-book smuggling business, a tech billionaire of sorts, has a plan for taking over a local enterprise. All it requires is for someone to do some unapproved EVA work and blow some things up. The million slugs (local currency for Artemis) he offers makes it worth the very considerable risk of moving from her low orbit criminal activity to the much higher orbit of actual felon. Unfortunately, all does not go as planned, and now some very scary dark side people are doing their best to put her in a state of permanent eclipse. 
Weir draws up a great supporting cast for Jazz in this tense and suspenseful lunar thriller. There is Jewish guide Dale, gay and desperate to get back in Jazz's good books after a personal betrayal. Jazz and her father have a complicated relationship, which given her rebellious streak, is no surprise, but Weir subtly reveals the depth of their connection and love for each other, despite all that stands between them. Ukrainian Martin Svoboda, a technical whizz, is socially awkward but his commitment to Jazz left me hoping that their relationship would become something more. I applaud Weir for his diversity and truth that he added to this cast. Though the majority of the novel was though Jazz’s thoughts, I was able to understand the complexity of the supporting characters, and I think this added to the wonderful humor of the novel! 

I had the pleasure of listening to Artemis In the audible exclusive version with actress Rosario Dawson narrating. I may be biased, because I may be a little obsessed with her (or a lot ) but if you have any interest in listening to this book download her version! She tells this story to its fullest extent, with different voices and true accents of different characters. I also think she solidified my love for Jazz’s character because she does a really great job conveying the angsty teen attitude. I seriously give the audiobook 10/10. This performance may have made the entire novel for me. Overall, this is a fantastic read, and I hope Andy Weir has plans to revive Jazz as a character in the future. It seems possible from the novels final lines, and I am eagerly awaiting! 


Monday, July 10, 2017

Bonfire By Krysten Ritter

“KRYSTEN RITTER is well known for her starring roles in the award winning Netflix original series, Marvel's Jessica Jones, and cult favorite, Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23, as well as her pivotal role on AMC’s Breaking Bad. Krysten’s work on film includes Big Eyes, Listen Up Philip, Life Happens, Confessions of a Shopaholic and She’s Out of My League. She is the founder of Silent Machine, a production company which aims to highlight complex female protagonists. Ritter and her dog Mikey split their time between New York and Los Angeles.”( An excerpt from Ritter’s Goodreads Author Bio). But what I DIDN’T know was that Krysten Ritter is a fantastic writer.  In her debut novel Bonfire she shows off her immense talents, and storytelling skills. 

I started reading Bonfire envisioning Jessica Jones as the protagonist. I don’t know why per say, but Krysten Ritter is Jessica Jones to me and it was very hard to separate this well known actress from the spunky female main character. Our main character Abby is an environmental lawyer, and a fire cracker of her own nature. She is just the perfect amount modest as she is spunk and sass. And though I started out picturing Jessica, I soon was pulled into Ritter’s pages and Abby herself became clearer to me as the reader. 

Then about 20 pages in I found myself complaining about the choppy sentences, and the short chapters. The entire novel felt mediocre at this point, and I was disappointed. . . Until I read another 20 pages, and realized that the nature of the text and format itself was a stylistic choice of the author and an amazing one at that. 

This novel left me literally on the edge of my seat the entire time. Ritter’s characters were relatable, and personable. You wanted to know everybody, and even got to learn the stories of all of her characters. Even the bad ones who you would never be friends with in your own life. And there were a lot of them. But overall it gave that small town feel in every aspect. I knew every bodies names. And what their stories were just like you would in an average small American town. 

And then I neared the end, and had less than 20 pages left… and I still had NO idea what was going to happen. How was this story going to end? This was what I loved the absolute most about this novel. Because with the thriller and suspense genre, I often find myself guessing and figuring out the ending before I get halfway through the book. But not this time. Ritter didn’t give away the ending until it was happening and there were almost not even enough pages left to give me all the answers I needed.

She answered them though. 

And she did it with grace, and style. It was not your average wrap up, but something greater. 

I was a fan of Krysten Ritter before, but through this debut novel she has earned every bit of success, and has proved her immense talents once again. 

If you want to check out this novel its available for preorder on Amazon, Barnes & Nobel and other book retailers worldwide. Bonfire will be released in November of 2017 by Crown Archetype Publishing. 

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Lights Out

Lights Out by Ted Koppel 

This ones gonna be short, not because I didn't enjoy it, but because it was non-fiction (per say) and I don't have a lot of criticism... 

I found this book very informative and enlightening. I took my time reading this novel because I wanted to better digest the information that was infant of me. Ted Koppel brings the news to you and does not stray from it. Anyone interested and intrigued by world events or the cyber world will find this book a great read. I was drawn in by Mr. Koppel's writing. Also, I found his interviews with people to be fascinating and informative. In fact, the more that I read the more I realized that sometimes not knowing is living in happy bliss. What I mean by this is that when you don't know everything that is going on behind the scenes like a movie than you still enjoy that movie but how many times have you read about the way a movie was made and maybe your perspective about that movie was changed. All I have to say is that "Zombies" are not the thing that we need to fear but a cyberattack. Which the government already is aware of could happen and they have prepared while the rest of the world is living in "happy bliss”. Here's this book in a nutshell: "The nation's power grid is woefully unprotected and unprepared for a direct assault, especially through a cyber attack." Most of the rest of the book is rehashing this thesis with various data points and interviews with cyber warfare and electrical production experts.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Caraval , By Stephanie Garber

“WELCOME, WELCOME TO CARAVAL! The grandest show on land or by sea. Inside you’ll experience more wonders than most people see in a lifetime. You can sip magic from a cup and buy dreams in a bottle. But before you fully enter into our world, YOU MUST REMEMBER IT’S ALL A GAME.”

Aesthetically, this book is BEAUTIFUL. The cover pictured to the left is the US edition of Caraval, with beautiful colors of red and teal blue, however the UK version (pictured below) is just as beautiful sporting a shimmering gold color on its outer jacket. For both versions however, the hardback book has a gorgeous design printed into the cover itself (also pictured below). These designs vary from a tear drop to a circus tent, a rose, a clock and a beautifully detailed dress. 

Other than the physical appearance of the book, it’s structure and it’s words are also breathtaking and endearing. I spent my time reading this book consistently on the edge of my seat. Stephanie Garber has a beautiful writing style that has a magical way of keeping you hooked the entire time. Garber creates her characters to  be relatable, and mysterious all in one fair swoop. It’s just so good. 

This novel plays with the reader so well. When Scarlett enters the Caraval game, we as the readers enter the game as well. I felt every bit of excitement on the journey to, and through, Caraval as if I was doing so myself. It’s not only Scarlett who risks her life to win the game, it’s also us who are risking our lives. I felt as I were a player of Caraval myself. 

Many times I find that characters are clueless in stories and don’t see what is in front of them, while we as readers scream our heads off trying to make them SEE. I can honestly say that this never happens in this book. Because whenever Scarlett learns something, we learn it too. I LOVED this aspect, the absolute page turning agony of needing to know what happens next. Did I trust a character? Did I trust myself? I had so many fantastic emotions throughout this novel. 

My only qualm with this book is the massive info dump found at the end of the novel. This is controversial to me because without this, I think the parts of the book that I loved the most could not have eased through as well as they had, but also I just wanted the book to go on and on for longer and have all of the information shown to me, rather than told in the final pages. Maybe this was just me wanting MORE, as I already have a craving for book two (which she's still writing!!!). 

       Overall, I was so pleasantly surprised with this book. I waited so long to read it, and hyped it up in my head more and more as it’s release date dawned closer and closer, so for this book to meet all of my expectations could not have made reading this a more magical experience. I highly recommend this book for any fantasy reader fans, as well as any fans of YA literature in general. 10 out of 10 for a great rating.  Though I’ve said it many times throughout, magical is the best way to describe this book overall. 

Want to buy Caraval? It’s available on all booksellers websites, and I’ve seen it in my local Barnes and Nobel as well. 

Want to check out the author ? View her website here.


Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Aquaman Vol. 1 : The Drowning (Rebirth)

When DC announced that they would start a new chapter for all of their ongoing comics entitled Rebirth MANY fans were over the moon. Our favorite comic book heroes (and villains) would be getting a facelift for not only their artwork but their stories as well. 

For me personally, Aquaman was never a comic book character that I picked up immediately. And as a newfound lover of comics in general, Aquaman sparked my interests as a character I was excited to get to know. Also as I am a new reader, I decided to start with the brand new "chapter" of comics with the Rebirth marking.  

As this is not Dan Abnett’s first time writing Aquaman, DC’s Rebirth now gives him the freedom to do as he wants with the character. In this first volume of Aquaman’s new story, Abnett dives right into the politics of Atlantis, as well as the relationship between Arthur and Mera, plus some Black Manta stuff for good measure. 
As a first time Aquaman reader with this volume I can't say that I will actively seek out a follow up volume. Aquaman himself is funny, and enticing. The character is seemingly in depth and Abnett really took the time to fully explore everything that his characters were before writing them into this storyline. However, the storyline itself is almost set up for a reader that has been previously well versed in Aquaman’s history for the last 70 or so years. 

One very high point for me in this entire volume was the artwork! The artwork is split between artists Brad Walker, Phil Brionnes, and Scot Eaton, who blend their own beautiful and unique art styles together from issue to issue very nicely. Though I went back and looked for the subtle changes and styles from artist and issue to issue, it is not completely noticeable to the average reader. This is important to me, because an issue for me when reading comics or any piece of ongoing literature is the consistency of the piece. Although it is common for different writers, and artists to all work on projects together whether it be in the same issue or alternating in the comic world, I personally find it distracting and was pleasantly surprised that it wasn't a distracting feature, but a welcome one in this volume of Aquaman. 

Another great feature of the artwork here is the hyper colorful pages. You can see even on the cover art pictured above the bright orange and coral colors, and the many pop out shades of blue. 

Also, a defining point of this volume that I do appreciate is at the end (SPOILER ALERT) where Abnett gives us a short Justice League tie in with the appearance of Superman. If you’re like me and appreciate the crossovers from comic series’ alike then you will enjoy this last issue in the volume! 

Overall, I can give this volume of Aquaman 4 out of 5 stars. The artwork and colors really took the cake on this one over the storyline itself. But maybe if you’re an avid Aquaman fan, or just a super-fan of DC comics in general you will find that aspect more enticing! 

You can view this book at Goodreads here , and as of January 17th 2017 this book should be available at retailers around the country!

Also, I would like to thank NetGally & DC Comics publishing for sending me a copy of this Trade Paperback Volume of Aquaman by Dan Abnett for review! Happy Reading :) 



Sunday, January 8, 2017

The City Bakers Guide to Country Living

"This book, about a pastry chef running from her mistakes until she runs smack into a place she can call home, is a confection. And I mean that in the best possible way: it's sweet with just the right hints of tartness and salt, and, like a great dessert, it leaves you wanting more." said author Heather Young, and she could not be more correct about this book. 

The City Bakers Guide to Country Living by Louise Miller is a quick and wonderful read that I found myself unable to put away. This month I listened to this book courtesy of Random House Publishing, and it was a great start to my goal for my reading year of 2017. 

Miller has written a fun, easy, and escapist reading in this novel. We find ourselves in New England, mainly Vermont with bits of Boston thrown in, so if you're like me and are familiar with this area, that's a huge bonus. Often I read novels that take place in areas I am unfamiliar with, so to read a novel based in my area of the country gave me an even bigger sense of home-ieness than this novel was already trying to give you! 

Above all else, this novel is truly meant to make you feel like a baker. The scenes describing baking, and centered mainly around the main characters love for baking are the truest and most powerful scenes throughout. (And Miller even adds a killer pie recipe at the end!) I especially appreciated this detail, and the detailed descriptions of baking and cooking throughout the entire novel. 

I think my favorite part of this book is our main character Livvy. 

Livvy is a famous pastry chef in Boston, flees a love (and cooking) scandal and heads to Vermont where she is offered a temporary job at a bed and breakfast. She is the most eccentric, among a vast lineup of interesting characters, and amazingly lovely settings to a story that truly was able to keep my ever changing interest. 

This novel truly is "A full-hearted novel about a big-city baker who discovers the true meaning of home—and that sometimes the best things are found when you didn’t even know you were looking" and thats a direct quote from the excerpt of the book for fans to see! 

This novel was engaging, and kept me wanting more and more each time I put it down. Livvy is relatable, and radiant and I felt at many points that I was reading a story that could have easily been of my own.  

Louise Miller is a first time author with The City Girls Guide to Country Living and I am VERY hopeful that she continues her writing career, and encounters the success that she truly deserves! If you want to view her website you can go here and view her page, where she posts recipes she's tried and information about her book! 

All in all, I am highly recommending this novel for fans of contemporary fiction, and chick-lit. I have found this to be a wonderful and easy read that will stay with me for days to come! 


"I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review."