Monday, March 19, 2018

Book Review: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas


Title: The Hate U Give
Author: Angie Thomas
Series/Standalone: Standalone
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Pages: 464
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Year Published: 2017
Format: Hardcover (Own It)
First Line: "I shouldn't have come to this party."

"Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor black neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend, Khalil, at the hands of a plice officer. Khalil was unarmed.
Soon afterward, Khalil's death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Starr's best friend at scool suggests he may have had it coming. When it becomes clear the police have little interest in investigating the incident, protesters take to the streets and Starr's neighborhood becomes a war zone. What everyone wants to know is: What really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.
But what Starr does- or does not- say could destroy her community. It could also endanger her life.
Angie Thomas's searing debut about an ordinary girl in extraordinary circumstances addresses issues of racism and police violence with intelligence, heart and unflinching honesty."

My Rating: 5/5

I understand now why everyone should read this book. This book was eye opening, heartbreaking and inspiring. I think that Angie Thomas's writing style is important to note. It is a story that I think that everyone should read based on the content matter and the way things are shown. I'm aware that as a white woman I have privileges that many others do not. That being said, there were so many things that I never even thought of having to be careful about. For example, I have never feared a police officer, but this book really made me think about how the concept of police officer's can be different for you based on something like your background, neighbourhood, or race. It's horrible to think about, but an important thing for people to understand.
Another aspect that I really enjoyed was the idea of family. I feel like so often in stories like this we see a family life that has become stereotypical, but this book made me wish that I could meet Starr's family.

Thanks for reading,

Spoiler: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

This story was everything I needed and more. I understand now why everyone says that everyone should read this book. This story is so incredibly important for this time period and those in the future. As someone who has a considerable amount of privilege, I was so upset to read about what other people are going through with police violence. This book was an eye opener. There were things that I knew about, but to see how people had to think so carefully about interactions with law enforcement and people of other races.
I also loved the family element of this story. So often you read or see books like this where the main characters family life is horrible and it made me think that perhaps that's some authors ways of saying why certain things happen. Not that that is at all right. Not even close.

Starr: I think that seeing her act as she did really shook me. To see someone fear for everyone around them for trying to do the right thing and try to defend a friend. I can't imagine being in her situation, but sadly it happens everyday. People make presumptions about other people, and when guns are available whose to say prejudices wouldn't get in the way. I was frustrated to see that the cop wasn't put behind bars, but I'm sadly not surprised. This book is realistic. 

Maverick: I loved how he took care of his family and those in the community. I loved that he took care of those around him and was willing to put in the work for his community to be a better place. That being said, I think he made a good choice leaving with his family when he did. Especially after all the shit with King went down.

Khalil: Although we don't know all that much about him, it's clear that he was doing some things out of necessacity and not out of want. Unfortunately, this is another incredibly realistic ascpect of this story. People get stuck in the cycle of poverty and drugs, in a system very much stacked against them.

Seven: He's strong in his own right. To give up what he really wanted to try and do better things for his family is a strong move. That being said he puts up with seeing his mother used and abused along with his sisters. It broke my heart at the end to see how he broke inside seeing his mom give him and his siblings a chance to run. 

Chris: He definetly has a type but that's not a bad thing. I think that he's a good guy and he's really trying to understand Starr's world and how it's different from his own. That being said, he would never fully be able to put himself in her shoes. 

Maya: I liked that she finally stood up for herself and opened up about how she felt. Hailey should never have spoken to them that way, and she shouldn't speak to anyone that way at all. 

Hailey: She's not unlike many people who've grown up with a privilege and don't believe that privelege exists. She was so frustrating to read about, but I would assume that there are more people like her than I'd like to believe.

King: People do what they have to do to survive. That being said, he should have gotten more time for everything he'd done to people and his community.

Kenya: Her life isn't all that uncommon. Across every walk of life children are abused physically, sexually and verbally. Until we stand up and fight for the rights of those who cannot speak for themselves these children may never be free.

Momma: She's strong and raised 2 kids on her own while her husband was in jail, and she was able to forgive him after everything that happened. Together they worked to provide a better life for their family, and provide care in their community.

Moments to Remember:

Final Line: "I promise."

Thanks for reading,

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Book Review: Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart

Title: Genuine Fraud
Author: E. Lockhart
Series/Standalone: Standalone
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller
Pages: 264
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Year Published:2017
Format: Audiobook

"Imogen is a runaway heiress, an orphan, a cook and a cheat.
Jule is a fighter, a social chameleon, and an athlete.
An intense friendship. A disappearance. A murder, or maybe two.
A bad romance, or maybe three.
Blunt objects, disguises, blood and chocolate. The American dream, superheroes, spies and villains.
A girl who refuses to give people what they want from her.
A girl who refuses to be the person she once was."

My Rating: 4/5

This book was written by an author I loved. I had loved her debut, although it was controversial, We Were Liars was a great YA thriller. And this second book was also very addicting. The audiobook told the story very well and helped me with the use of accents in the storyline. I think that the change of chapters really added to the storyline and made the reader wonder about what had happened in past events. It really added to the suspense of the plot overall.  That being said there were parts of this book I felt that I missed out on by listening to the audiobook. Especially if I got distracted. Just something to keep in mind if you're not used to listening to books on audio.
I think that this book is best if you go in blind expecting nothing, especially based on the subject matter. I would recommend this to lovers of thrillers and mysteries for YA.

Thanks for reading,

Spoiler: Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart

This book was one I'd heard good and bad things about for quite some time. Most people seemed to really not like it if they had liked E. Lockhart's first book, We Were Liars. I actually thought that it was really interesting. Especially the way it was written. To start from near the end and go back to the beginning is an interesting idea and it created different ideas about our characters. I also thought that the audiobook did a great job with the changing accents although I wish I had had a physical copy to keep track of the timeline.

Jule: I don't even know where, to begin with, this character. She makes so many choices that are poor and in poor judgement. I do wonder how she started to rationalize what she was doing and who she was doing it too. That being said, she was trying to escape who she was and become someone else. I would think though that it would have been better to go about this in another way. That being said, she was never lacking in the adventure idea of the plot.

Imogen: She is more than a little spoiled. Not to say that she deserved what she had coming, not at all she was just a person who was trying to figure out who she was. That being said, she had a pretty big advantage (money, looks, social charm). It was impressive to see what she could get away with. 

Forrest: Good for him for sticking up for Immy after her death. That being said she did cheat on him and didn't seem to care that much about him at all. 

Pablo: I wonder if they ended up meeting in the future or if he just let her go wondering what she was hiding and why they could never be together.

Imogen's Parents: They were more than a little naive to just trust in Jule, but it made me think about the times that I had trusted someone wholeheartedly and where that might have gotten me. 

Thanks for reading,

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Book Review: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Title: Gone Girl
Author: Gillian Flynn
Series/Standalone: Standalone
Genre: Mystery, Crime, Fiction, Adult
Publisher: Broadway Books
Year Published: 2012
Format: Library Copy (Paperback)
First Line: "When I think of my wife, I always think of her head."

"On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne's fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick's clever and beautiful wife disappears. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn't doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife's head, but passages from Amy's diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and media- as well as Amy's fiercely doting parents- the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he's definitely bitter- but is he really a killer?"

My Rating: 3.75/5

This was my local book clubs pick for the month and it took a lot longer for me to get through than I anticipated. The story was interesting, but due to already having watched the movie, I found that I knew where the story was headed. If I hadn't watched the movie, I think that I would have enjoyed the thrilling aspects much more. I also enjoyed the writing style, there's something to be said for being able to write really unlikeable characters and still have the reader interested in where their lives are going. That being said, if you have already watched the movie, I wouldn't say that it's necessary to read the book.

Thanks for reading,

Spoiler: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

This story was one that was suggested by the shyest member of my local book club. So our meeting this month should be interesting, to say the least. I think that this book had many interesting elements. The unlikeable characters (I think I liked 2 people out of everyone), the thrilling aspect (had I not already watched the movie) and the look into criminal investigations/crime tv.
I think that the idea of having someone be so committed to a lie to commit self-harm was a wild idea but none-the-less an interesting one.

Amy: There's no way around it, she's a freaking psychopath. She doles out her own means of justice however she feels she needs to. I kind of forgot all the other people she had lied about and gotten away with before Nick. It makes you wonder if she was able to do this to more people after the course of the novel took place.

Nick: He is another character that isn't likeable. He's not a good guy. He's done some shitty stuff, but the idea that he and Amy are having a child together horrifies me, to say the least. What kind of household would I child be raised in with these two?

Rand: I liked him. He was self-aware that he sounded corny and kind of ridiculous throughout everything.

Go: She's a hard character to keep up with, but she might be the only sane one in Nick's life. Yes, she doubted him for a little while, but that being said she stuck by him through everything.

Marybeth: I didn't like her in the least, to be determined that Nick was the only problem in the marriage might be some of the reasons that Amy had romantic issue (I mean besides her being crazy and unable to tell fact from opinion).

Rhonda: I wish she'd been able to get her guy. But I think that it's safe to say that not everything worked out in the novel we would have liked.

Desi: I felt a little bad for him in the movie, but in the book, he was as much as a jerk as possible. To try to buy someone's love is just pointless.

Moments to Remember:

Final Line: "I think I've earned that."

Thanks for reading,

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Book Review: Into the Still Blue by Veronica Rossi

Title: Into the Still Blue
Author: Veronica Rossi
Series/Standalone: Under the Never Sky Trilogy (Book #3)
Genre: Dystopia, Young Adult, Romance
Pages: 389
Publisher: HarperCollins
Year Published: 2014
Format: Audiobook

"The race to the Still Blue has reached a stalemate. Aria and Perry are determined to find this last safe haven from the Aether storms before Sable and Hess do- and they are just as determined to stay together.

Within the confines of a cave they're using as a makeshift refuge, they struggle to reconcile their people, Dwellers and outsiders, who are united only in their hatred of their desperate situation. Meanwhile, time is running out to rescue Cinder, who was abducted by Hess and Sable for his unique abilities. Then Roar arrives in a grief-stricken fury, endangering all with his need for revenge.

Out of options, Perry and Aria assemble an unlikely team for an impossible rescue mission. Cinder isn't just the key to unlocking the Still Blue and their only hope for survival- he's also their friend. And in a dying world, the bonds between people are what matter most.

In this final book in her earth-shattering Under the Never Sky trilogy, Veronica Rossi raises the stakes to their absolute limit and brings her epic love story to an unforgettable close."

My Rating: 4.5/5

This ending was more than I could have expected and possibly my favourite book in this trilogy. I loved the storytelling and the plot, but also the way our characters reacted to things that had happened in the second book. I also really enjoyed the change of setting that occurred throughout this last instalment. I would definitely read more works by the author. I loved this series, and it reminded me of all that a dystopian really can be. So different and so heartwarming, but still so spooky to think about the what-ifs. I would recommend this series to anyone who enjoyed dystopian books in the past but felt like they've seen it all. 

Thanks for reading,

Spoiler: Into the Still Blue by Veronica Rossi

This whole series had really reminded me of what I love about dystopian. The ideas of what if and what would you do if are very strong in this series. But this story also has the idea of fate. Whether you are born as a dweller or an outsider, your fate was the same by the end unless you aligned yourself with someone promising, and even then odds were that you wouldn't make it out.
I've also enjoyed the more adult aspect of this series. This series doesn't go into explicit details, but it doesn't brush away the ideas of needs and wants. It helped me to connect with our characters and make me feel like they were real people.

Perry: His passion for his people and for Aria knows no bounds. I loved that he was a passionate character and wanted the best for everyone overall. I also enjoyed the fact that he clearly cared about Aria and wasn't afraid to show it after so long being apart.

Aria: Aria grew a lot as a character in this last book, she thought about who she was and who she wanted to be. I also enjoyed that she was willing to stand for herself, but was able to ask for help if she needed it. I hope her future is bright, even better than anything that would have happened in the pods.

Talon: He deserves this bright future. And he made me smile.

Cinder: His loss hurt me deeply, but I also think that it was necessary for his loss. I really loved that he showed his emotion and his fear, it's important for us to realize that fear is important.

Roar: I think that Roar is my favourite character. He is charming and funny, teasing as many of my friends are. That being said, his heartbreak was evident in this story and played a very important role in this storyline.

Sable: He is the evil we never even thought of. I honestly thought that he was a Rhysand type, but boy was I wrong. I wonder what would have happened if he hadn't been so harsh and raised to be so Horns above all. 

Hess: Can't say he'll be missed, he was the original villain and I still didn't forgive him for all he put Aria through.

Sorren: I think that Sorren grew a lot in this book as well, he realized it's not important about to be the head man if he wasn't going to live to see another month.

Brooke: I'm happy that she found someone else and was willing to be more friendly to Aria. 

Thanks for reading,

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Book Review: Winter by Marissa Meyer

Title: Winter
Author: Marissa Meyer
Series/Standalone: The Lunar Chronicles (Book #4)
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Retelling
Pages: 827
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Year Published: 2015
Format: Hardcover (Library Copy)
First Line: "Winter's toes had become ice cubes."

"Princess Winter is admired by the Lunar people for her grace and kindness, and despite the scars that mark her face, her beauty is said to be even more breathtaking than that of her stepmother, Queen Levana.

Winter despises her stepmother, and knows Levana won't approve of her feelings for her childhood friend-- the handsome palace guard, Jacin. but Winter isn't as weak as Levana believes her to be and she's been undermining her stepmother's wishes for years. Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder, and her allies, Winter might even have the power to launch a revolution and win a war that's been raging for far too long.

Can Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter defeat Levana and find their happily ever afters? Fans will not want to miss this thrilling conclusion to Marissa Meyer's national bestselling Lunar Chronicles series."

My Rating: 4/5

I've heard so many good things about this series and I wonder if the hype didn't really do me any favours. I found that this series was really entertaining and creative with the use of fairy tales. That being said, it didn't blow me out of the water. I think that this conclusion was beautiful, although a bit long. I understand that all the aspects of the story we had to follow were important but by halfway through I was wondering how much more could be thrown into this last book. That being said I do love the majority of the characters and I enjoyed the idea of living in space. I'm interested in reading more work from Marissa Meyer but I don't think that I'll be reading Stars Above anytime soon. It just doesn't hold a high appeal to me. Overall I enjoyed the series and the plot line, it was just so hyped that I felt a little bit let down. 

Thanks for reading,

Spoiler: Winter by Marissa Meyer

One goal I have this year is to finish out series that I start and to marathon them when I can and enjoy them. This one has been a long time coming and after Cress, I wasn't sure what to expect. Overall I really enjoyed the characters and the setting in this installment. That being said, I found that the plot was a little lacklustre at some points. I just didn't seem to feel the urgency that I should have felt while reading the second half of the book. That being said, I think that Marissa Meyer is super creative with her retellings and the way that she uses things from the original fairy tales. 

Winter: I think that she was an interesting character to hear from. Especially based on her choice not to use her gift. I was interested in her madness and how quickly she could spiral. I also wonder about after the war and where her thoughts went. I loved her characters and I wish that we would have heard a little more about her upbringing with Levana.

Jacin: His loyalty to Winter throughout this story is so impressive. Also his restraint in keeping himself from telling her how he felt. I liked the element of wanting something he couldn't have. It made their romance so much more than guard and princess. 

Levana: She is a good freaking villain. She's crazy and selfish but seriously thinks that she is doing right by her people by making the choices she does. A fantastically written villain. 

Cinder: I was most proud of her last decision to adequate the throne at some point. After all, she didn't really want to be a ruler she wanted to give the people of Luna freedom. She succeeded in the goal and plans to give them a more secure future with her decision.

Kai: I still think that he's a little bland. Too much a just kind of there to hold off the villain which I understand but not my favourite male character by far. 

Thorne: Thorne grew a lot on me in this book especially after Cress is left behind. His urge to get back to her broke my heart. I also enjoyed the way he reacted to trying to tell her how he felt. Even after he just stabbed her. I also loved that at the wedding he told that Lunar he loved her because he thought that she was Cress. My heart hurt as we watched their relationship grow. 

Cress: Another character who grew on me as she got more confident in her abilities. She was willing to risk herself for the good of all, which I felt is something she lacked in the 3rd book. I also think that her romance with Thorne was better fleshed out in the finale.

Scarlet: Still my favourite female character. She's badass and she doesn't take shit from anybody. She's willing to fight for those she loves and those she just started to get to know (Winter). I think that her storyline and romance is the real reason I finished the series. And possibly the only reason for me to continue with Stars Above.

Wolf: Probably not a surprise but my favourite male character as well. His romance with Scarlet was so perfectly executed in this storyline. The way he changes and is still himself underneath it all. I also loved that he was willing to let Scarlet go if she wanted, even though it would likely break him. I also just think that he was hot. Not even gonna lie he has so many amazing qualities.

Iko: I'm not a huge fan of her but I don't hate her either. She was ok for me to read from, especially as she was not affected by glamours. I understand that she had a different personality than the average AI, but I'm not interested in reading Wires and Nerve just yet.

Moments to Remember:

Final Line: "She held her foot over the water and let go."

Thanks for reading,