Saturday, August 12, 2017

Book Review: Something Fierce: Memoirs of a Revolutionary Daughter by Carmen Aguirre


Title: Something Fierce: Memoirs of a Revolutionary Daughter
Author: Carmen Aguirre
Series/Standalone: Standalone
Genre: Nonfiction, Memoir
Pages: 277
Publisher: Douglas & McIntyre
Year Published: 2011
Format: Paperback Copy (Own It)
First Line: "As my mother bit into her Big Mac, her glasses caught the reflection of a purple neon light somewhere behind me."

"A gripping, darkly comic first-hand account of a young underground revolutionary during the Pinochet dictatorship in 1980s Chile.

On September 11, 1973, a violent coup removed Salvador Allende, the democratically elected socialist president of Chile, from office. Thousands were arrested, tortured and killed under General Augusto Pinochet's repressive new regime. Soon after the coup, six-year-old Carmen Aguirre and her younger sister fled the country with their parents for Canada and a life of exile.

In 1978, the Chilean resistance issued a call for exiled activists to return to Latin America. Most women sent their children to live with relatives or with supporters in Cuba, but Carmen's mother kept her precious girls with her. As their mother and stepfather set up a safe house for resistance members in La Paz, Bolivia, the girls' own double lives began. At eighteen, Carmen herself joined the resistance. With conventional day jobs as a cover, she and her new husband moved to Argentina to begin a dangerous new life of their own.

This dramatic, darkly funny narrative, which covers the eventful decade from 2979 to 2989, takes the reader inside war-ridden Peru, dictatorship-run Bolivia, post-Malvinas Argentina and Pinochet's Chile. Writing with passion and deep personal insight, Carmen captures her constant struggle to reconcile her commitment to the movement with the desires of her youth and her budding sexuality. 'Something Fierce' is a gripping story of love, war and resistance and a rare first-hand account of revolutionary life."

My Rating: 4/5

I've always had trouble rating no fiction reads because who am I to rate someone else's opinions, life or memories. I'm not someone who can do that so the number rating that you see above is based purely on my enjoyment of the writing style and approach. I think that this Carmen Aguirre does a great job of giving a huge over lay during a difficult time in South America as well as a difficult time in her life. That being said at some points in this book I had to take a break from reading, to get caught up with the idea that she had moved to another country, or it had been a large gap of time. Still, she has a unique perspective since she was directly involved in the revolution, after being involved with her family. I think that this book is an important read, especially if you're like me and don't know a lot about historical happenings. It really opened my eyes to the struggles of those in Latin America, as well as helped me to understand things that I'd heard as a child but did not understand. My family would listen to the news and I remember hearing things about protests in the streets in the south, but I didn't really remember anything else about it. I'm very privileged to lead the life I do, and this book has inspired me to reach out those for those who can't. I hope to read more nonfiction in the future, especially on serious matters.

Thanks for reading,


Sunday, August 6, 2017

Book Review: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Title: Shatter Me
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Series/Standalone: Shatter Me (Book #1)
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopia, Romance
Pages: 338
Publisher: Harper
Year Published: 2011
Format: Hardcover Physical Copy (Own It)
First Line: "I've been locked up for 264 days."

"I have a curse.
I have a gift

I am a monster.
I'm more than human.

My touch is lethal
My touch is power

I am their weapon
I will fight back.

Juliette hasn't touched anyone in exactly 264 days.

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette's touch is fatal. As long as she doesn't hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don't fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that survivors are whispering war- and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she's exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior."

My Rating: 4.5/5

So this was a book a pulled out of my most anticipated reads tbr jar and I'm glad that it didn't disappoint. This first installment did such a wonderful job of setting up the world, introducing the characters and starting us on what appears to be an action packed adventure. Tahereh Mafi's writing style is beautiful and flowing, but still manages to shock the reader with the idea of this dystopian world. Based on other's opinions of the third book in this series (did you guys know we're expecting 3 more), I'm curious to see how the writing changes and how the story unfolds. I can't wait to get to the rest of the series and hope to order the rest of the books soon.

Thanks for reading,

Spoiler: Shatter Me by Taereh Mafi

So as per usual I'm the last one on the hype train, and at this point maybe the only one. But hot damn this was a really fun read. I caught myself remembering how I started reading dystopian and how much I enjoyed them Tahereh Mafi's writing style is so lyrical and beautiful but also gets the reader to the point. I think that the way the main characters thoughts are crossed out throughout this book is also an interesting aspect and I wonder where this will take us in the upcoming novels. I know that people either really love this series or they really hate it and that makes me nervous, but it's also nerve wracking that I thought this series was over but apparently 3 more books are coming out. I'm not panicking at all. 

Juliette: She is an interesting main character to hear from someone who has been in captivity while the world has literally fallen apart around her. For her to remember the world as we know it and see it go to shit so quickly.  She also has the interesting experience of neglect based on "what" she is. To see her able to touch another person was amazing, but to quickly realise that she could touch both Warner and Adam made me worried. Also what else is she capable of. Anyone else get Rogue from X-Men vibes.

Adam: Am I the only one who has read this first book and thought that this guy was too good to be true? I understand that they knew each other in the past, but they never even spoke. It doesn't make sense to me how they can feel so much for each other in such a short amount of time. Especially under such crazy circumstances.

Warner: He's also crazy, but like in the need to be locked up for stalking kind of way. Too freaking bad The Reestablishment is for in the most part in control. I wonder how he will hold on to power after he loses Juliette and what will happen to him once his father finds out. Also what is his past like? Is that what the novellas are about? Ugh so many questions, not yet enough cash to purchase the books.

James: This kid has seen too damn much for his tender young age of 10. And if Adam's power is to not be influenced by Juliette's touch does that mean that James has a power. I wonder how his life in the Omega Compound will change in comparison to what he's known.

Kenji: Who the hell is this guy? And I'm also getting super Red Queen vibes so that means my favorite series might have borrowed this, which was to be expected but also is helping me to enjoy this story line with powers even more.

Moments to Remember:
Final Line: "I'm ready."

Thanks for reading,

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Book Review: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

Title: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
Author: Benjamin Alire Saenz
Series/Standalone: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe (Book #1)
Pages: 359
Genre: Young Adult, LGBT, Contemporary
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Year Published: 2012
Format: Audiobook

"Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship- the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be."

My Rating: 4.5/5

This book really blew me out of the water. I was expecting a short little contemporary that wasn't overly hard hitting and here I was going out for walks to have an excuse to listen to the audiobook. The characters in this story are incredible and the author touches on so many important topics without having the reader feel that things are getting bogged down. The story is so important for young readers. It asks readers so many questions about who they are and how they want to be. I also think that the fact that this story takes place in the past makes the story that much more lovable. I can't wait to read the companion novel and pick up a physical copy of this book. It seems like a great book to reread every summer..

Thanks for reading,