Moxie by Jennifer Matheiu

…What! Phoenix is actually doing a book review???? What even is this? Ha, yes, I am back with my next book review! It’s certainly been a while for one of those. I’m sorry that it took me so long to get this next review out, but this is just the perfect book to do this post on! Moxie is such an important book and I’m not sure that I can do this justice but I’m going to try!
Also, I made a few changes to how my book reviews look, I hope you like it!

Moxie | Jennifer Mathieu

Published September 19, 2017 | Roaring Brook Press

330 pages| Hardcover

Content warnings: Sexism, harassment, attempted rape, sexual abuse,

Vivian Carter is tired.
She’s tired of the football team getting all the funds while the girl’s soccer team is left with uniforms from forever ago. She’s tired of the boys in the school saying whatever they want whereas the girls get busted in impromptu dress code checks for wearing too tight pants.
It’s gone on this way for years but when a new girl moves to Vivian’s school and speaks out against the boys, Viv realizes that it’s time to stand up.
Inspired by her mom, who was a punk rock Riot Grrrl in the 90’s, Viv creates a feminist zine to distribute around her school. She doesn’t expect it to do much–but then other girls actually begin to respond. Viv isn’t the only one who’s tired…and Moxie Girls Fight back.

I loved this book because I felt like it was so empowering. I think that one of the best things about this is that Vivian can be really anybody. Vivian could be that quiet kid at the back of the class or the most popular girl in the school. Or she could be you.
At the beginning of the book, Viv is just a high school junior who goes to a school in a town in Texas. She hears the remarks that the boys say, the things that they do, and she definitely dislikes it. But she’s never really thought of speaking out. The whole way the school is built is stacked against her. The principal is the father of one of the boys saying those things for goodness sake and he’s just as bad as his son.
But what changed?
Enter: the new kid trope.
Is that a trope? I do not know. But honestly, probably because there are a LOT of tropes out there. And if not, I’m making it one. ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜
Lucy Hernandez just moved from…oh darn I forgot, my brain is full of holes for anything I read more than one hour ago. Anyways. I think she moved from a city. It was Houston. I think. She’s interesting because she’s a new kid and Viv’s small town hasn’t had one of those since forever, but then she responds to a retort from one of the biggest jerks in the school. She stands up to him. And it’s really this that leads Viv to start making these zines.

I really liked both Vivian and Lucy. Vivian was really determined to fix things in her school and wouldn’t back down no matter the comments from other people or the threats of suspension or expulsion from the principal (yeah, you heard right. Their principal threatened to expel people standing up against sexist comments and more). But really, it was Lucy who I liked the best. She was the reason Viv did all this, she was the catalyst. And while Viv was staying anonymous and behind the scenes, still doing her perfect obedient girl act, Lucy was speaking out every which way, even taking the brunt for most of the actions caused from the zines.

Seth. Seth, Seth, Seth.
Well first of all let me say that I would have liked if the romance in this book was toned down a good bit. In general, I don’t like when romance is a big part of this book so it was just meh for me. I was reading this for the strong feminism, for the speaking up, not for the romance.
I also didn’t really like how Viv got a crush on him on sight (basically insta love, though possibly one sided? Since we don’t know Seth well at the beginning, I don’t know). If there is romance in a book (it’s hard to avoid usually), I like a slow burn (not too slow though) or at least not love at first sight. For me, it just doesn’t make a relationship very well developed and it feels more…based on looks than on personality.
It feels mean of me to say that I disliked Seth because of his cluelessness but…it’s kinda true. Seth was definitely a device character (I don’t know if that’s a thing or, if it is, if I’m using it right), used to teach people more about feminism and what not to ever ever ever say (for example, suggesting that an attempted rape was the girl’s fault).
I think the real reason I didn’t like Seth was his, ‘Not all guys…’ comments. Viv says more than once that she knows it’s not all guys but that doesn’t really matter in this situation, but he continues to say it. Dude, Vivian knows that you aren’t one of the football jerks, do you think she’d date you otherwise? But the fact that you aren’t is NOT the main point of what she’s trying to do! Because even though it’s true that not all guys are like the jerks, there are still jerks out there. Maybe not all guys are jerks but ALL GIRLS ARE STILL AFRAID OF BEING HARASSED/SEXUALLY ABUSED/RAPED
(on the topic, check out this post that Riddhi B. wrote about rape–it’s such an important and eye opening post to read).

I’ve talked so much about the characters and not the plot! I really enjoyed the plot, actually! I’m really impressed with the author’s ability to keep this book going–because I feel like there’s a lot of ways that this book could have kersplatted (that’s a word now, y’all). I mean, it’s mainly based in school, that can get boring real fast. I read when I’m done with school, so I don’t focus on my schoolwork, I don’t want to read about more school. But this book was still awesome! I especially liked the meeting/dance/market/whatever thing they hosted for the girl’s soccer team’s uniforms.

This book also…really had me thinking. I was wondering what I would do if I saw a zine appear in my school. If I would take action, if I would speak out. I like the first idea, with the hearts and stars, but wearing your bathrobe to school? I feel like I’m afraid of standing out at school, almost. I want to be known but I don’t want to be stared at as I walk down the hallway because I’m dressed differently or something. And would I do the walk out that was organized? I’d like to think that yes, that I would support a classmate, a cause especially as big as this one. But do I have the courage?
This, actually, makes me think of peer pressure (sorry for going off on a ramble here). Why would I be unwilling to do these things? It’s because I’m afraid of what other people will think of me, I don’t want to be different. Society pressures you to be one way and to be any other way makes you stand out. Can we stop this? Maybe. Hopefully. Whatever the case…Moxie girls fight back!

Characters: ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ | Plot: ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ | Romance: ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ | Message: ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ

Have you read Moxie? Do you want to read it? What do you think of this post? I’d love to hear your opinion on my opinion–just as long as it’s respectful!
Thank you so much for stopping by my little corner of the internet and checking out my blog–it means the world to me.
As always, stay safe and keep reading!

2020 Book Tag

Welp, here we go with yet another tag. It seems like ever since I started with the tags, I’ve just been doing them constantly. I’m sorry about that guys, I’ll try to get a discussion post or review up soon, we’ll see!

Before you ask, yes. You read this right. A book tag about 2020, the year as a whole. Because what better year to do one on? 2020 has been the biggest roller coaster of a year that anyone could possibly imagine and there are just so many ideas for a book tag. I will separate the tag into a few different sections so that you all know what part of the year I’m talking about. (Please note: I live in the USA so depending on what country you live on, different things may have happened throughout the year, but this is just what’s up in the US. You can definitely still do the tag even if you live in a different country!)

Here are the rules for this book tag:

  • Link back to the original creator, Phoenix @Books With Wings
  • Thank the person who tagged you
  • Answer all the questions
  • Tag at least 4 people
  • At the bottom, talk about some other books you read in 2020! (this isn’t required, just suggested!)

Please note: Just because this is a book tag about 2020, the books you talk about do not have to have been read by you in 2020
ALSO: This tag is about 2020. However, it does not need to be done DURING 2020. The year is almost done but this tag doesn’t have to be! It’s only a tag about the year, there’s nothing in it that requires it being that year.

Okay! I really hope you all enjoy this tag and find a little light in this year that has been sub-par. I know that it’s a ‘2020 book tag’ but you can do it anytime, not just in 2020! This tag is not time sensitive like the monthly book tags that I have tried and failed to get popular, so don’t worry!

Here is a list of the questions and below I will post my answers:

Part one: Beginning of the year
1) A book that you were really excited for
2) A book that started out really well (to be fair, I’m not certain if it started well, but it was certainly better than the rest of the year)

Part two: The world goes on hold
3) A book that had an unexpected plot twist
4) A book where you felt like nothing happened
5) A book where two main characters were separated (quest, disease, forbidden, etc.)

Part three: The world tries to reopen (and begins a second wave of the pandemic)
6) A book in which the characters made a bad decision
7) A book with an impatient/overly eager character

Part four: The world adjusts (not sure this ever actually happened but…I’ll bend this a little)
8) A book in which the character’s goals change midway.

Part five: The end and looking forwards
9) A book whose sequel you really anticipated/are anticipating
10) A book whose sequel was better than its original (we’re all hoping….)
11) A book that you read just to finish it (didn’t like it but wanted to finish it anyways)


And here are my answers to all of these questions!

1) A book that you were really excited for

A book that I was really really excited to read this year was ‘House of Dragons’ by Jessica Cluess. I thought it had a very interesting concept and I always love books that sort of have trials the characters have to complete. Plus, we get dragons. Unfortunately, House of Dragons did not live up to my expectations – there were some parts that were interesting but overall the writing style wasn’t very good and I knew almost nothing about the world.
You can find my goodreads review of ‘House of Dragons’ here.
Another posts by me featuring this book is my November Monthly wrap-up and book tag

2) A book that started out really well

A book that I thought had a good beginning was Scavange the Stars. The writing style was great for the whole book and we got to see this harsher, worn side of Amaya who’s really just trying to stay alive. It jumps right into the action, making you wonder why on earth Amaya is on the ship and that keeps you reading for the entire book.
You can find my review of ‘Scavenge the Stars’ on my blog here as well as my goodreads review here
Another post featuring this book on my blog is my November monthly wrap-up and book tag

3) A book that had an unexpected plot twist

Okay, this book I read a while ago. When I say a while, I mean like early 2020, sometime in January, but for me that is a while. I have a memory with as many holes as swiss cheese when it comes to books – I read so many of them and then immediately forget the plots. Still, this plot twist is so memorable that I remember it almost a year later. The book ‘Four Dead Queens’ is such an amazingly weaved book, told so skillfully and beautifully that you can’t put it down. I will not tell you the plot twist for spoiler-y reasons but let me just say that this book is very much worth reading and you need to pick it up immediately if you have not already. (proof that the plot twist was great: I mentioned it in my 3-sentence review of this which book I wrote at the beginning of the year before I really started using goodreads a lot) (And can we talk about that cover though? Beautiful)

4) A book where you felt like nothing happened

Ah! Ha ha ha ha (*laughs in disappointment*). Oh boy do I have the book for you. ‘The Future Was Now’ by JR Harbor.
Let me say right now that I miiight be a little biased against this book. Because of other problems that I have with it (many, many problems. I recommend you check out my rant of this book here to see me roasting it farther)
So, things did happen in this book. Here’s the thing: it ends basically exactly where it started. We get no character growth, no nothing. Asa could have just gone to the city, found a pretty girl and gone back home (more about the ‘pretty girl’ in my review rant)

5) A book where two characters were separated

I absolutely loved ‘I’ll Give You the Sun.’ Basically the main reason that, well, everything happened in this book, was because our main characters, Jude and Noah, were separated.
Not physically, mind you. But the twins, who were practically inseparable for most of their lives, were in a giant fight and were barely talking to each other. Given how close they were before this, I’m saying that they were separated in this scenario. You can find my blog post about this book here. You can also find it mentioned in my (less than adequate) October wrap-up.

6) A book in which the characters made a bad decision

I’m going to call this book one giant bad decision.
It’s not that the book itself was bad. In fact, it was a very interesting book. But the entire book was quite literally about making bad decisions. Here’s some background:
The girls of the Danvers field hockey team are determined to win the state championships – in any way possible. Including dappling with some dark magic. But their dark magic needs recharging every now and then…by doing the worst things they can. Stealing the book copies from a classroom. Replacing chemicals in the science lab with water. And more. Like I said, all bad decisions.

7) A book with an impatient or overly eager character

Literally the second I looked at this prompt I thought of Spensa from ‘Skyward’ by Brandon Sanderson. Maybe I wouldn’t call Spensa overly eager but she certainly is extremely eager and definitely a little impatient. She wants to be up in the air, flying like her father was, no matter what it takes. And then, once she begins to get training, she just wants to actually fly, to actually be up there, in the first few days where she’s sort of just stuck on the ground learning the basics.

8) A book where a character’s goals changed midway

‘Tarnished are the Stars’ is the only book I can really think of in which this happens. At the beginning, Anna has a grudge on Nathaniel because he hurt a child from Anna’s village. Eventually, the child dies and Anna is so angry that she goes searching for Nathaniel to kill him. But then Eliza arrives on the scene and they suddenly have another goal – reveal what the tarnish that is affecting the hearts of everyone in the village is and stop it. Anna went from wanting to kill Nathaniel to working alongside him (and thankfully, it is NOT the enemies-to-lovers trope, they’re just friends!)

9) A book whose sequel you were/are anticipating

NEVER ask me this and expect me to list only 1 book. For your convenience, I managed to lower it to four anticipated releases, but let me tell you it was HARD. Also, images are from the book whose sequel I’m anticipating (because the third book of Children of Blood and Bone’s cover isn’t out yet).
The books that I am anticipating are book 2 of All the Stars and Teeth, All the Tides of Fate, the third book in the Children of Blood and Bone series (untitled), A Vow so Bold and Deadly (ACSDAL 3) and book 3 in the Crown of Feathers book, Wings of Shadow. I love all four of these serieses and can’t wait to read the…woah, for all four, the final book! Especially with that cliffhanger at the end of both Heart of Flames and Children of Virtue and Vengeance.

10) A book whose sequel was better than the original

This so rarely happens to me but fortunately I have the perfect example here. The Shadow and Bone series DEFINITELY improved as it went on, the third being…still not amazing, but SO MUCH better than the first book. I think that, since this was Leigh Bardugo’s debut series, her writing improved a lot as the series went on (but Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom are still WAAAAY better)

11) A book that you read just to finish it.

I mean….almost every book I was assigned to read for school? But if we’re going reading for pleasure, I’ll have to say the Shadow and Bone series again. The main reason I picked up Shadow and Bone was to get through it so I could read King of Scars. Shadow and Bone was just…not very good. But I knew that there were characters in it that were in KoS so I just barrelled through it…. (I still haven’t picked up King of Scars, ha).
But also…I’m one of those people who NEVER DNFs so I probably have a few others that I’m forgetting. (anyone think that goodreads should just have a ‘DNF’ button?)

Well, there’s my tag! I really hope you enjoyed this because I thought it would be a fun way to end the year and it’s just an all around original tag! (I hope) Here are the people that I will tag:

Em @Cats, Bibliophiles and Baguettes
Katie @The Storybook Sisters
Alex @The Scribe Owl
April Lee @Booked Till Midnight

Weren’t tagged? I know a lot of people in the blogging community (most of whom I met in the last three days because I’ve actually been making an effort to talk to people) so I can’t tag everyone! But even if you weren’t tagged, please go ahead and do it! I would love to see your answers!

One more thing! Some of you may have noticed the ‘Monthly Wrap-Up Book Tag’ that I’ve been hosting. Yeah, it’s not going so well, probably because it’s sort of on a time crunch and I’m not posting it soon enough and people have already started their monthly wrap-ups, etc. etc. SO. I’m changing how this is going. I will put up a page for the three monthly questions each month. Questions will be put up at the BEGINNING OF THE MONTH. If you want to stick your monthly questions into your wrap-up, just for a fun little ‘learn more about the books’ thing, please do so! If you link your post back to my wrap up I will be sure to present it on my blog so that anyone can see it!
For those of you who are interested in using the questions for this month, the questions are:

  • A book you read this month with a strong bond (friends, family, etc.)
  • A book you read this month in which the characters feasted
  • The book with characters that you would love to invite to your house for thanksgiving (pre-covid)(note: if you do not live in the USA you can talk about the characters you would invite to your house for a feast)

You can find the rest of my monthly wrap-up and check out my answers to these questions here.

Have you read any of these books? What do you think of my anticipated releases? Do you believer that goodreads should add a ‘DNF’ button? Please, tell me what you think in the comments! I always love to hear your opinion on my opinion as long as you’re respectful! As alwaus, thank you for stopping by to read this post and this blog. It means the world!
Stay safe and keep reading,

Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

We’re almost finished with my challenge, “Beyond the Story,” at this point! After this post, we only have one more week to go. I know that, in general, the challenge was not the biggest success but I loved that I was able to read a lot of books I probably wouldn’t have gotten to on my tbr otherwise. If you’ve stumbled upon this blog in the time since I posted about this challenge and think it sounds interesting, I’d love to hear about it! I’ll consider doing another one after a bit of a break because writing these book reviews on such short notice is, I’ll admit, exhausting.

Summary:
Elisabeth has lived in one of the Great Libraries of Austermeer her whole life. Training as an apprentice, she hopes to one day become a warden, protecting the magical books–grimoires–and the kingdom from their powers.
When an act of sabotage releases the library’s most dangerous grimoire, Elisabeth is determined to stop it from destroying the nearby village. However, her intervention has labeled her as the saboteur and she must be transported to the capital to face justice. She realizes that only a sorcerer, Nathaniel Thorn, can help her as she becomes entangled in a conspiracy from centuries ago that threatens to kill hundreds of people. As she gets deeper into the conspiracy, she must question everything she’s been taught–about sorcerers, whom she’s told are evil, about libraries and about even herself. She, with the help of a few allies, is the only one who can stop all six of the great libraries from going up in flames with countless people among them.

The characters:
Elisabeth: Elisabeth has lived in a library her entire life. And not just any library, a library where books talk to her and secret passages are her main way of getting around. Just…stop and imagine that for a second. Living in a magic library. Surrounded by books your entire life. How I wish. However, it seems that living in this library has made her very naive to the outside world. She believes that sorcerers are evil. And she knows next to nothing about the demons that are bound to them. Elisabeth was a very interesting character. She was determined and she was extremely good with a sword. She was a very strong female character. Other than that….I don’t have much to say. I feel like, despite the fact that she had a sword, was basically friends with books and, well, was the main character of this book, she wasn’t very memorable (I know, I’m going against what I said before, but I really cannot think of something right now. I may think of something later…)
Nathaniel: Shockingly enough, Nathaniel, the male character, was my favorite character in the book. I think, mostly, it was his sense of humor. He also…reminded me of someone, but I’m not sure who. He’s had a traumatizing few years before Eliza came into his life and he relies on his demon for most everything. But despite the complicated relationship between Silas, the demon, and Nathaniel, you can see how much they care and trust each other.
Silas: The demon. But Silas is the most obedient, amazing, trustworthy, loving demon there is. Yes, he’s under a contract sort of thing with Nathaniel but you can tell that he really, truly cares. He’s gone through so much with Nathaniel. I don’t care what anyone else says about Silas but he is my favorite (well okay, maybe second favorite but like…I’m not sure. He may be up there as my favorite) and you cannot convince me otherwise.

The plot: This plot was very…twisty. It seems like at first it was one thing and then suddenly it was another. It was interesting, overall, but I feel like there were just some parts that were too convenient and some parts that just…weren’t needed. For example: Elisabeth needs to get a job at the Royal Library or whatever it’s called (I forget and that’s not good, given that I finished reading this less than an hour ago) to pull off part of her plan. Well, lucky her, turns out there’s a spot open because a maid resigned the day before. And the part with the fiends, when they arrive in the city or whatever…what was the point of that? It was just for Elisabeth to show off her awesome fighting skills and get in the paper or whatever. Why were there even fiends there and why did they target Elisabeth? She was with a sorcerer, wouldn’t they know to go for an easier-to-beat person?

The world building:
Pretty good! I was never confused as to where something was and there was never an info dump. I didn’t get to see much of the world…there was that time when Nathaniel and Elisabeth were traveling and Nathaniel talked a bit about it, but it wasn’t described as fully in detail as other books. I wasn’t sure exactly where things were, other than the fact that the Great Libraries formed a pentagon around the Royal Library (the sixth Great Library) but since they didn’t do much traveling, that wasn’t strictly necessary.

The romance:
Guys. This is…a shocker. I actually sorta shipped a straight couple. Sorta. I think I just felt like they got along well together and I liked Nathaniel a lot. But then….we get to the actual romance, that is, when they were kissing, and I didn’t like it much. I guess I only liked the idea of them together? I’m not sure. But all in all, the romance was…not awful in this book. Also; when Nathaniel finally admitted that he liked Elisabeth: ‘Silas has been rolling his eyes at me for weeks.’

The representation:
Hmm…it wasn’t great? But at least it wasn’t all straight people. Unfortunately, all three of our main characters are white, however there is a side character who is not physically there for most of the book but is mentioned quite a few times who is described as having brown skin. The same character is aro/ace and Nathaniel is bi, though each of these things are mentioned exactly once in the book. The main relationship is, however, m/f.

The ending:
This happens to me often, and it may be because I don’t read the most carefully. But I was confused. I didn’t exactly understand what was happening. (except for…for….Silasssssssssssssssssssss! *breaks down in tears*)
I also felt like the ending of this book ended rather abruptly. The last chapter we have is right when the action finishes, literally directly after. Then we have the prologue that spans over about one day but describes what happened in the past week or so. I don’t want to hear what happened, I want to read it as it happens. If you have that much explaining left to do, just add a few more chapters onto the end.
The last thing about the ending was that it was fairly open ended. One of those books that what happens next is pretty obvious but it doesn’t actually tell you. It annoys me when they do that, because does it hurt to write a few extra sentences, just to make it an actual confirmed happy ending?

Final ratings: (out of five stars)
Characters: ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ
Plot: ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ
World building: ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ
Romance: ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ
Diversity: ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ
Final rating: 3.6 stars

Book info:
Title: Sorcery of Thorns
Author: Margaret Rogerson
Published by: Margaret K. McElderry Books on June 4, 2019
Genres: Fantasy, Young adult, Paranormal
Pages: 453

Have you read “Sorcery of Thorns”? What did you think about it? Do you want to read it? Have you read Margaret Rogerson’s other book, “An Enchantment of Ravens”? What did you think about this review? I’d love to hear your opinion on my opinion as long as you’re respectful! I’m always open to having a bookish discussion with you! And make sure to check out some of the other posts I have to offer!
As always, thanks for reading. It means the world to me that you would take the time out of your day to read this small and insignificant blog. Stay safe and keep on reading!

Scavenge the Stars by Tara Sim

Week number two of my “Beyond the Story” challenge! First I want to thank anyone who is participating in this challenge–though I know not many people are participating, I thank everyone who is. Please, put your reviews for this challenge in the comments if you want to!

*Please note: I listened to this book as an audiobook so character names may not be spelled exactly correctly. If you see an incorrect spelling, please don’t hesitate to let me know in the comments. Thank you.*

Summary: When Amaya saves a mysterious man from drowning, she is afraid that her sentence on the debtor ship, which is almost up, will be elongated. Eager to get home, she believes she has destroyed her future. Instead, the man who she saved strikes up a deal with her: he’ll help her get revenge on the man who ruined her life and she’ll help him get revenge on the person who ruined his. And so Amaya is tossed into a world of riches and finery in a plot to murder both of the men. But the more she explores this new world, the more she dregs up the past that she thought was gone forever–and the more she realizes that no one can be trusted.
On the other hand, Cayo’s life is looking up. It seems he’s finally gotten rid of his gambling problem and his sister is about to marry a wealthy man, giving his family a boost. However, his sister collapses on the night that his father hopes to finalize the marriage and it’s soon confirmed that she has the deadly sickness that’s spreading around Moray. Just to make matters worse, it seems that Cayo’s gambling has lead the family to bankruptcy and now they have nothing to pay with for the expensive medicine. When word gets around that a rich Countess has arrived in the city, Cayo’s father insists that he try to get close to her for a little extra money.

The characters
Amaya: The first character we are introduced to is Amaya. When we meet her, we find her on a debtor’s ship, working furiously. Conditions aren’t great. But don’t worry, Amaya’s leaving soon. This girl is hard-working, tough, strong and loyal. I liked what a strong female character she was but there were a few things I didn’t like about her (more on that later).
Cayo: Shockingly enough, I enjoyed reading the chapters that followed Cayo’s perspective much more than I enjoyed those following Amaya. I think it is because Cayo is more…realistic. He actually has problems. Sure, Amaya has problems as well–I mean she was stuck on a debtor ship, practically a slave, for seven years. But no offense to anyone that this has actually happened to, this doesn’t happen very frequently. Meanwhile, Cayo’s problems are shown throughout the book. His sister is sick. His family is broke. He’s constantly on the urge of getting back into gambling. You can really feel him more than Amaya, this distant character who’s sort of…good at everything.
Boon: Suspicious. The entire time, he was so suspicious. No one just has that much money when you’re out at sea. About his personality….he was sort of ambitious. And broody. Despite the fact that he’s sort of the inciting incident, he’s not in this book much at all.
There were actually so many amazing characters in this book and I cannot name them all. In fact, most were just there for bits and pieces of it, but important nonetheless. Here’s a few more really minor characters I liked:

  • Liesl
  • Saraiya
  • Sebastian

The plot:
So…I’ll admit. I went into this book expecting adventure. Maybe it was the cover, maybe it was the synopsis. Whatever it was, I didn’t think that the characters would be attending parties and tromping around the city.
Revenge. That is what this book is all about. Revenge on the man who ruined Amaya’s life. Revenge on the man who ruined Boon’s life. And it keeps spiraling from there–it seems like everyone who has wronged Amaya a little bit, she’s eager to get revenge on.
I think that that is my biggest problem with this book. She is so eager to kill these people who have wronged her. Now, I am in no way standing up for any of the things that Captain Zharo did. He was cruel and abusive to people, even children as young as eight or nine years old. But Amaya jumps straight to killing in several circumstances. She kills the debt collector who brought her to the ship seven years ago. So much death, much of it that probably didn’t absolutely have to happen.
Revenge, death and non-adventure aside, I did, in fact, enjoy this book very much. I will be forever shocked at how easily authors can fill a bunch of nothing with a bunch of something but I guess if you become an author you get lots of experience making things sound fascinating. I feel like half this book was about people wandering the city, there wasn’t even much action, and yet it wasn’t an uninteresting book. In fact, I would go so far as to say that it was interesting! And yes, despite the fact that I didn’t adore this book, I will be reading the second one once it comes out.

The worldbuilding:
I absolutely loved the world building in this book! I never got an info dump explaining where places were and there were so many countries and kingdoms mentioned. We only got to see one city in this book, which I’m actually disappointed about. I would have loved to see more of this world. Hopefully, that’s what I’ll get in book two!

The romance:
So…I didn’t actually expect there to be romance in this book. I had heard, somewhere, that this book had an asexual/aromantic character and I just kind of assumed that it was Amaya, for some reason. My bad. So the fact that there was romance, even if it was a small amount, was a little surprising to me.
But…I actually liked the ship. I mean, I didn’t absolutely adore it, but it was bearable. That is definitely a shocker for me, who so rarely tolerates reading straight romance in books.

All in all, this book was a big barrel of surprises. It wasn’t my favorite, but it wasn’t awful, either. And I am, in fact, glad that I read this book.

Final rating: (out of five stars)
Characters: ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ
Plot: ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ
World building: ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ
Romance: ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ
Diversity: ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ
Final rating: 3.8 stars

Book info:
Title: Scavenge the Stars
Author: Tara Sim
Published by: Little Brown Books on January 4, 2020
Genres: YA, fiction, fantasy, LGBTQIAP+
Pages: 383 (depending on edition)

Have you read “Scavenge the Stars”? What did you think about it? Are you hoping to read the next book? What do you think will happen in “Ravage the Darkness”? What about this blog post? I’d love to hear your opinion on my opinion (just be respectful!) I’d be so excited to have a bookish discussion with you! Plus, make sure to check out some of the other posts I have to offer!
As always, thanks for reading. To take the time out of your day to read my rambles and half-baked posts means the world. Stay safe and keep reading!

The Future Was Now by JR Harber (Book Rant)

In which I lie to stress my point (please note that all lies are either unintentional or clearly marked).
Whew! Strap in, everyone, this is going to be a loooong ride. I certainly have a lot to say about this book!

Wow. Okay so if you saw my goodreads review (found here but it doesn’t actually say much about the book, just the rating) you know that I really did not like this book very much. When I say, “not very much” I mean not at all. It wasn’t the actual plot, though there were definitely many plot holes, but the little things. I’ve been observing more in my readings these days and this book….no thank you. Let’s get to it.
Please note: this will be a spoiler-filled review because there’s too much to talk about for it not to be. Do not read this review if you do not want this book spoiled (though I suggest if you’re looking to read this book at least give the review a try so you can know what you’re getting into).

Oh yeah also I’ll write a short synopsis I guess because why not:
The State is the only remnant of a world destroyed by human greed, a safe place with every need met. Asa has spent his life in one of the State’s farming communities. When he turns 21, officially becoming an adult, Asa decides to leave his small town and go to Horizon, a large city. When he arrives, he meets the ‘girl of his dreams’ [I got that from the goodreads description, not my own], Eve. However, an unexpected tragedy forces Asa and Eve to embark on a journey farther from the watchful eye of the state than they’ve ever gone before. Meanwhile Gabriel, one of the State’s Contract Enforcers is determined to track them down and deliver the State’s justice.

On the plot:

Nothing happens.
Wow I’ve already reached my first lie of the review. Okay so yes this is a lie because this book has what one might call ‘adventure’. But literally every single scene in the middle could be taken out. In fact, I could turn this book into a short story, right here: “Asa turned 21 and wanted to go to the big city since he was bored of his little town. Six days later, Asa returned to his little town with a pretty lady (more on this later), realizing that the big city was not where he wanted to live. The end.” You know how in books even if it starts and ends in the same place, the characters usually learn something, take something away from their adventure? Yeah, nothing like that happens even though there was a whole lot to be taken away from it. Hey Asa, guess what? The society you’ve lived in your whole life was actually created by some not great people. Also didn’t you see, there’s the excellent community outside of that society that will give you a good life! But nope, we gotta go back into the society.

Was there a climax?
This book was extremely anticlimactic. For a good part of the book the entire goal was to find this person who could clear their records since there was an incident where it looked like Asa pushed someone out the window (but the person actually committed suicide). They find the dude and talk to him for about thirty minutes before leaving again (he does clear their records though). Then Gabriel tries to shoot them. And he gets shot and fell in the river so okay he’s dead whatever let’s all go back to our peaceful lives.

The backstories did not add anything to the plot.
Okay guys when he was ten years old Asa fell in a river. All the bodies of water in this society are contaminated with an amoeba that will most likely get to your brain and kill you. Somehow, Asa survived. Wow, does he have some sort of immunity? Is he going to save his entire society from this amoeba, called the Bug, because he has this immunity thing? Nope. In fact, this was not even a part of the story aside from the fact that it was repeated at least three times in the first 40% of the book. Oh yeah, also? Gabriel’s girlfriend got stabbed by her former boyfriend and died. So he has PTSD and sometimes thinks about Naomi. Doesn’t stop him from doing anything he does and tries to do in the plot.

Asa needs to do some more travel planning.
“I’ve turned 21! I’m leaving my little town! Off to the city I go!” This is coming from someone who has never visited the city. Who has never left his tiny town. From someone who did nothing but pack his bags and get on a train. Look, I’m only a teenager and don’t know much about traveling/moving and maaaybe things are different in this society but don’t you need to do a little planning? Figure out a place to stay and/or live? And we can clearly see Asa’s flaws when he arrives. He literally walks out of the train station and starts wandering around. It’s getting dark and he walks into an alleyway? Nope, not concerned about where I’m gonna, you know, sleep or live, let me get a drink at this nightbar because I’ve heard rumors of the nightbars in Horizon. Apparently they’re dangerous. And things happen in them that people don’t want to talk about. So let’s go in here on my first day to the city at night!

On the characters:

I don’t even know what to call this part but there’s something seriously wrong with Asa (part one)
I seriously don’t even know where to start with this. Guys. He falls in love with someone he hasn’t even met because she’s ‘so very pretty’. Before he meets her he literally thinks, “there’s something different about her.” Because she’s so very pretty. Through the entire book I’m hearing how beautiful Eve is, and her amazing smile. Not once does Asa talk about the fact that Eve is actually smart. That she’s the reason she’s still alive because he never would have gotten out of the city without her. Nope, it’s just that she’s amazingly beautiful. I no joke just jumped to a random page and I see Asa talking about how, “I’m with the most beautiful girl I’ve ever met.” Really? Is beauty the new way to determine what a person’s like? Are you going to judge a person as a whole of their beauty?

There’s something seriously wrong with Asa part two
Let’s read these few sentence and I’m willing to hear your argument that there’s not something wrong with Asa afterwards. “Everyone knew there were men and women whose sexual appetites ran against nature; it was a defect they were born with….but to allow two men to live like a married couple or–worse–to raise a child together that way?” At first I was willing to forgive Asa for this. He has lived in a society that believed this his whole life. But now he’s outside this society so he’s going to learn new things, right? There’s about half the book left at this point. I kept waiting for him to come back, to realize he was wrong, to at least address this again, but nope. That’s the only page that says anything about this encounter. I don’t know if the author is homophobic or was trying to be ‘inclusive’ and just did really badly about it but this just made me so very angry.

There’s something seriously wrong with Asa (part three)
Whoop, more about Eve because she’s so very beautiful and Asa wants to be with her forever more. He’s so controlling, in my opinion. Near the end, when Eve is trying to decide whether to go back to the State or staying out in the Waste with her brother, Asa gets almost angry at her because she’s considering it. He’s basically like, “Eve, how could you leave me?” Well, here’s the thing, Asa. You’ve known her for about four days. You don’t really get to choose what she wants. And also? She just found out her brother was alive out here in the Waste. Who she thought was dead and also her only living family member. And you get angry at her for considering staying? Then, a little later on, he suddenly has this realization, like, “Wow, I’m actually only going to be happy if she’s happy. There’s no use going back if she’s not going to be happy.” And so he gets all ready to say, “Eve, we can stay if you want to,” yada yada. But, you know, he’s apparently already convinced her and she’s coming back. But I hated that scene because even though he had this ‘great realization’ or whatever, he still had been extremely toxic and trying to get his way.

The relationship is badly developed.
This book takes place over a span of six days. In this time, Asa sees Eve (day 2), falls in love with her (day 2, based on looks) actually has a conversation with her (day 3) and basically proposes with her (in a roundabout way. He doesn’t even ask her. He just tells someone that they’re getting married)(day 6). Now, I’m no expert on relationships but…doesn’t this seem a little soon? And from my point of view the relationship was barely even developed. It even felt a little one sided to me for most of the book. Asa is obviously obsessed with Eve–because of her looks. Eve seems a little hesitant for most of the book. Which I don’t blame her for. Her boyfriend just committed suicide??? And Asa is all snuggling up close to her, trying to get her to like him. It’s like the instant Daniel died, Eve was his. Hello???? Give her a little space, dude.
Yeah, you might argue that they ‘went through a lot together’ and that bonded them sooner. But there was still almost no hint of the relationship until the end of the book when suddenly…well you’ll see later on. Asa acts possessive and really jealous whenever he sees Eve with anyone else even though they’re not technically in a relationship. And also, she’s her own person. Let her make her own choices and she can defend herself and just…you don’t need to treat her like she’s a glass doll.

Let’s go back to the fact that Eve’s boyfriend just committed suicide.
This book seems to both revolve around Daniel (the boyfriend) and completely forget him. I seriously think that Daniel’s suicide was only there for the inciting incident. Maybe I’m taking this too far but they did nothing? I mean Eve cried for like five seconds after it happened. But then they just went on their way to find his grandfather so that he can clear their records since it looked like Asa pushed Daniel instead of Daniel committing suicide. Like it’s all great and stuff that they need their records cleared but they cannot just forget about Daniel! He was a strange person but it was obvious that Eve loved him–if not in the ‘I want to marry you’ way that Daniel obviously thought of her as, in the ‘you’re like an older brother’ way. She’s known him for so many years. You don’t just leave someone behind like that! Plus, this teaches a terrible lesson about suicide. Again, they barely mourn him. Guys. Just…just no.

On other stuff:

Umm….the graphic sex scene?
I did not need to read this. I did not ask to read this. I did not want to read this when I picked up the book and I do not want to read this when I pick up any book. Guys, I got this book from a goodreads giveaway in which it was listed as YA. I don’t know if it was goodreads or the author or the publisher or what who listed this book as YA but maybe they should check again. A scene like this should not be found in a YA book.
And the thing is, the rest of this book? It’s totally YA. There’s nothing in the rest of the book that could be classified as adult, just this scene. Here’s another thing: this scene was not needed. At all. It was as if the author just wanted to include a sex scene in there. It was sudden, didn’t fit into the story and just didn’t make sense in any way, shape or form. There was no incentive for it or anything. And let me repeat, you guys. Asa and Eve have known each other for about four days at this time. Plus, while it was obvious that Asa liked the pretty lady, there wasn’t even much romance between them. A hug, a kiss on the cheek, that’s it. Then Eve just walks into the room, wakes Asa up and begins making out with him like her life depends on it. And some.
Despite all the things I’ve listed about this book, this might be one of the worst. I know I keep repeating this but this thought keeps coming back in my head. There was no point in this scene!!! And the author just stuck it in there. It was so sudden it was like he wrote the scene outside of the book and just wanted to include it so he put it in the most ‘convenient’ place. As if someone was sewing a yellow quilt and wanted to include a red patch so they just stuck it in the middle of the quilt, not even bothering to conceal the thread.

The good parts
Well I suppose I ought to point out the good parts of this book as well. This book was pretty easy to read, it wasn’t boring enough to put down, but that’s not saying much given that despite how easy it was to read, the plot was still barely existent.

Please note: I may be a little bit biased on this book. I’m really nitpicking through it and finding all the tiny things–maybe they aren’t very important at all. Still, this is not an exemplar book for so many reasons and I think it is my job to call this out and let other people know so that they don’t have to read this book which could be, possibly, mildly offending for people of certain communities. Maybe only in small ways that you can only see if you know to look for them but…it’s not something we ever need.

Final Ratings: (out of five stars)
Characters: ๐ŸŒŸ
Plot: ๐ŸŒŸ
Romance: .01๐ŸŒŸ
Diversity: Nonexistent
Final rating: .105 star

Book info:
Title: The Future Was Now
Author: JR Harber
Published by: Greenleaf Book Group on March 6, 2020
Genres: Science fiction, dystopian
Pages: 320 pages

That’s the wrap on my very first book rant! Was it an interesting one? Do you think I dug too deep? Did I get repetitive? (this happens often when I’m trying to stress my point). Have you heard of the book “The Future Was Now”? Read it, even? What did you think? Please let me know any opinions in the comments below and consider following my blog for future reviews, book giveaways, author interviews and more! Thank you so so much for taking the time to read this post–the fact that you have happened upon this blog or even decided to follow it means the world to me. I appreciate anything.
Thanks again, everyone, and stay safe!

The Sound of Stars by Alechia Dow

Alright everyone, it’s week one of the “Beyond the Story” challenge! For the first challenge, “Judge a book by its cover,” I chose to read “The Sound of Stars” by Alechia Dow. This cover is one of the most amazing that I’ve ever seen. I mean, look at it!

Want a closer look? Here:

I hope that was close enough for you! Anyways, you can probably see why I chose this book for the challenge I did! But what did I think of what lies beneath this beautiful cover?

First impression: When I read this synopsis, not even having started this book, I thought it sounded rather…odd. On the cover it literally says, “Can their love of books and pop music save the world?” To me, that didn’t sound like a young adult novel. Another reason I was hesitant with this book is because it’s sci-fi. Not saying that I don’t read sci-fi, I just don’t read it very often and I just enjoy fantasy so much more. Science fiction and dystopian novels, I feel like, can get really down into all the ‘government-y’ stuff which I don’t like reading that much.

The beginning: This book started out a bit slowly. We meet Ellie and learn about her secret library. We then get to know MoRr1S and understand his love for music. All in all, the actual adventure doesn’t start till about 100 pages in and I’m not sure some of the things before that were needed.

The middle: The middle is where the actual adventure happened! I probably enjoyed this part most of all. Our main characters traveled across the country together, sometimes encountering Ilori, or humans, all of whom really wanted to capture Ellie and Morris.

The ending: The ending was…weird. I’m not going to pretend that I understood all of it? But it was interesting. There were definitely several plot twists especially THAT ONE PLOT TWIST that if that happened to me EEEEE and AAAAAH

On the characters:
Ellie: I enjoyed reading about Ellie a lot. Sheโ€™s a fun protagonist and extremely relatable. She loves reading books so much that she is willing to risk her life just to run an illegal library! She was a strong female character and it seemed like everyone liked her–I mean, an alien of a species trying to take over earth fell in love with her! She also cared about her family so much which I really liked. When she was traveling across the country, she was constantly thinking about them, wondering if they were safe, feeling bad because she felt like she left them behind. 

Morris: I have to admit, I liked Morris less than I liked Ellie. Maybe it was because we got Ellie POV and while it did follow Morris as well, it wasnโ€™t from first person which might have made me feel less connected to him. I do admire his willingness to work against his entire species, work against a lot of what he grew up around. However, I almost feel like he cared about Ellie…too much? Well let me first say that this is not a thing, caring about someone too much. But, sorry Morris, there are only so many times that I can hear the words โ€˜I love youโ€™. This may be a part that I admit Iโ€™m sort of glad the book wasnโ€™t from Morrisโ€™s point of view because I have a feeling throughout most of the book Iโ€™d just be reading, โ€œIloveyouIloveyouIloveyouEllieIloveyouIlovethisgirlsomuch.โ€

Avrola: I know that Avrola wasnโ€™t a very major character but I liked them. They also didnโ€™t have that much emotion, just like most Ilori, but I still sensed a deep admiration and willingness to do whatever for Morris in them. Iโ€™ll say it again, they werenโ€™t a very major character but without them, none of Ellieโ€™s family would be living. So in that sense, yes, they were very major.

Ooh wait. Did you guys want a synopsis before I just dug right into the book? Oops, sorry about that. Well, you can read my sort of horrible one right here:
The world has been taken over by aliens of the name Ilori. Humans have been tracked down all over the planet, either being killed or collected and kept together in centers where Ilori can control their every aspect of life. Janelle, better known as Ellie, lives in a center in New York City and every day has to watch her parents crumble under the Ilori rule. The only thing that keeps her going is the illegal library that she runs. Meanwhile, MoRr1S, or Morris, is an Ilori. Ilori are not supposed to feel emotions or enjoy any form of art but MoRr1S does. One day he finds Ellieโ€™s secret stash. As an Ilori, he is duty bound to turn her in, but he finds himself drawn to art the same way that Ellie is. Desperate for more music to listen to, he strikes up a deal with Ellie–her and her parentsโ€™ safety as long as she finds more music for him. But humans are in big trouble as Ilori draw closer to the vaccine they need to control mankind once in for all. Morris has a solution–but it is thousands of miles away. Now every single personโ€™s lives rest in the hands of him and Ellie as they try to make a near impossible adventure to overthrow the Ilori and save the future of humans.

The plot: This was a very interesting plot! I felt like there was almost always something happening, we didnโ€™t get periods where the book went, โ€œwe drove. We passed a field. We drove some more. I wonder how those cows survived the aliens. Oh look another field. Watch out for that chicken crossing the road.โ€ etc. There was enough action to get a 426 page book and it never felt drawn out or repeated or boring. One thing I do have to say about the plot, actually, was that it was fast. Well, not the plot, perhaps, but the traveling. Perhaps I missed something, but do Ilori cars move extra fast? Or do I just have a bad sense of distance (or maybe both)? Because they reached Illinois awfully fast. And Texas from Illinois. This also brings up the question of why on earth they were even in Texas. If youโ€™re going from New York to California, I donโ€™t think that Texas is exactly on the way. Especially if youโ€™ve reached Illinois, why go down instead of across? 

The romance: Sorry. I didnโ€™t like the romance. Perhaps this is just me with all (straight) romance but I just–didnโ€™t like it. Thatโ€™s all I have to say. I feel like Morris was just way too โ€˜IloveyouIloveyouIloveyou.โ€ I donโ€™t need to hear that he loves Ellie all the time, no matter how much it is true.

The ending (we’re covering it again): *Note: This is a spoiler-y part of the review. Do not read if you haven’t read the book*
Okay okay okay let’s see what I have to say about this ending.
First of all: I feel like the fact that Brixton was with the rebels would be more of a plot twist if we knew him better. Like he sort of just pops onto the scene after following Morris and Ellie across the continent, pretends to be on Orsa’s side for a bit and then suddenly, “Oh yeah I’m actually working with the rebels, bye Orsa.” Did even Morris know that Brixton was on his side? Because he seemed a little panicked that his brother was following him across the country. And then like…I dunno. It just seemed
Second: Imagine finding out that your favorite band wrote all their songs just for you. Like honestly I read that and just….wow, that wold be amazing. I wish.
Third: Did anyone ship Cecil and Alastor or was that me? I know, I know, it sounds weird. Cecil and Alastor only interacted about two times? And they were arguing one of those times. Also I’m pretty sure that Cecil and Rupert are dating. But still. Sorry, Rupert, but I think that Cecil and Alastor would be great together.
Fourth! I actually do not like books in which the book ends with the main characters leave earth. Yes, I have read a book in whihc this happens before. No, I will not tell you what it is, but it’s a pretty popular series. Anyways. I’m not entirely sure why I dislike it. It’s like…like the main characters are running away from their home? But not exactly that. I mean I think it’s just that they go through all this effort to save earth and then at the end of the book they just…leave. It’s extremely unsatisfying to me and it actually makes me like the book less.

Final ratings: (Out of five stars)
Characters: ๐ŸŒŸ ๐ŸŒŸ ๐ŸŒŸ ๐ŸŒŸ
Plot: ๐ŸŒŸ ๐ŸŒŸ ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ
Romance: ๐ŸŒŸ ๐ŸŒŸ
Diversity: ๐ŸŒŸ ๐ŸŒŸ ๐ŸŒŸ ๐ŸŒŸ ๐ŸŒŸ
Final rating: 3.75 stars

Book Info:
Title: The Sound of Stars
Author: Alechia Dow
Published by: Inkyard Press on February 25, 2020
Genre: YA, science fiction, romance, LGBTQIAP+
Pages: 426 pages (depends on edition)

Have you read “The Sound of Stars”? Do you want to read it? What did you think of my review? I’d love to hear your opinion on the book, on my opinion and on the book’s opinion (wait. That doesn’t make sense…). Please put anything you want to say in the comments and I’m always happy to conduct a bookish discussion! Plus, make sure to check out some other blog posts that I offer!

I’ll Give you the Sun by Jandy Nelson

Two posts in one day! And finally, my next book review! I haven’t reviewed a book on here in a while and I’m excited to get back to it! Now, I wrote a short summary for the beginning of the book, but in my opinion neither this summary nor the official one does the book justice so get ready to dive very deep into this masterpiece in order to teach yourself that you need to get this book right away.

Noah is quiet and keeps to himself. He hides in the pictures he loves to draw and lets his twin sister do all the talking for him. No one notices that he’s falling in love with the boy next door. Meanwhile, Jude does more than enough speaking to make up for her brother’s silence. She’s a daredevil, a surfer and a sky diver who wears lipstick and kisses boys just to spite her mother. However, three years later their worlds have flipped upside down and their personalities have changed drastically. Now, both are each other. Jude is the quiet one, hanging out with no one and obsessed with art. Noah has immersed himself in the world that Jude had been in, with friends and late night parties. Each of them are dealing with the gap that has emerged between them in wildly different ways and each of them only hold half the reason that the gap is even there. Only if they can piece together the story can they find their way back to each other.

I loved both of the characters in this book. “I’ll Give You the Sun” is an extremely character driven novel and throughout the story both Noah and Jude absolutely shone.

The book starts with the introduction of thirteen-year-old Noah. At this age, he’s shy, quiet, keeps to himself. He loves to draw and is constantly coming up with what pictures should look like in his head. In this same chapter we get to meet his sister, Jude. It’s immediately obvious that Jude does not have a good relationship with their mother and does everything she can to spite her. Jude is loud, a risk-taker, basically everything Noah isn’t and I think this is why they fit so well together–it’s as if they were one person who was just split in half. They need each other.

Which is why reading the next chapter is so very jarring. Suddenly it’s three years later and the story is being told from Jude’s point of view. The twins have practically switched places in life; suddenly Noah is the one going to all the parties and Jude is estranged from everyone. And both are estranged from each other. And yet through Jude’s point of view you can tell that they still need each other. That they need to find each other again in this mess we call the world.

And thus goes the book, weaving through the lives’ of thirteen-year-old Noah and sixteen-year-old Jude, piecing together what happened in between those years that made them break apart so shockingly. There are many layers to the time between and it takes time to unearth them all.

I think that the next thing we should focus on is the writing. Oh, the writing. Jandy Nelson makes a book come to life in your head. I have never read a book that was so full of color and images, I could perfectly picture every single scene in my head–it was like watching a movie that only I could see but it was so much better. Movies have the pictures, they can show things, but when you are reading a book and you are inside someone’s head like you are when you read a story told in first person, you get a whole other level of feelings and this is magnified tenfold by Jandy Nelson. Reading this book, I felt like I was Noah, I was Jude. I felt like I was living their lives, the happiness, the hurt, all the emotions. “I’ll Give You the Sun” is, quite possibly, the best written book that I have ever read.

Let me say one thing: this review does not do this novel justice. It is very hard to do this story justice because it is so unlike anything and it is so much more than any book I have ever read before. It is impossible to describe this book to someone else without shoving said book into their hands and sitting them down on a comfy chair, standing guard over them as they read for the next three or more hours. So if my review didn’t convince you to go get this book and read it, go get it and read it anyways because let me tell you, it is worth it.

More information on IGYTS:

Title: I’ll Give You the Sun
Author: Jandy Nelson
Genres: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction, Amazingness
Publication date: September 16, 2014
Representation: Gay main character, strong female main character
Page Number: 371

What did you think of this review? Did you like it? Have you read “I’ll Give You the Sun”? What did you think? Do you want to read it? Post in the comments and be sure to give this post a like if you enjoyed this book review!

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

I am going to do this review slightly differently than my first review and hopefully it’s just as good! I will focus on four different elements of the story: basic plot, characters, setting and writing, as well as adding a few notes to the bottom.

Plot:

Orisha used to be a land of magic, but everything changed several years ago, when magic vanished and maji all over the country were killed by the ruthless King Saran. Now, Zelie is without a mother and the country is without magic. However, a chance to return the powers to the country arises and she must embark on a dangerous journey to bring it back to her people. But she has a time limit, which is closing in fast. And with the crown prince on her trail, the stakes are higher than ever. If Prince Inan catches her and her companions, she will die and magic will be gone for good. But if she can finish her quest before the end of the month, the maji will have hope once again.

Characters:

Zelie is the first character introduced. She’s amazing at using a staff and is extremely loyal to those she loves. Above all, she wants to protect her brother and father and live a life not in fear. However, as a diviner, someone who carries magic in their blood (but is unable to use it since magic vanished years ago) this is difficult. The king and his men despise diviners and with diviner taxes and constant attention on the white hair that marks diviners for who they are, it’s hard for Zelie to fade into the background. Zelie is the fierce, driven, strong female character who everyone wants to root for the whole way.
Amari is the catalyst. As the Princess of Orisha, she lives in the palace with her father, King Saran, as well as the rest of the royal family. For years she has been fairly clueless to the cruelty her father inflicts on the diviners. However, when she witnesses her father kill her diviner best friend, Binta, after there are hints that magic could return, she escapes the palace. Holding the only thing that could ever bring Orisha to it’s former glory, she meets Zelie and begs for help.
Tzain is Zelie’s older brother who follows Zelie anywhere, no matter how reckless what she does is. Originally furious at Zelie’s choice to help Amari, he still follows the two as they leave on a quest to return magic. However,
Inan is Amari’s older brother and captain of the army. After his sister escapes, he is tasked with tracking down the trio to stop magic from returning and to kill Zelie. Can he reach them in time or will he see what he most despises rise again?

Setting:

The setting, too, is absolutely beautiful. I can just imagine all of Orisha in my mind, it is so vivid. The book starts out in a seaside town, but we get to see the capital city, a forest temple, a desert and even more!

Writing:

The writing, however, is what makes this book truly special. Adeyemi’s writing jumps off the page. Everything is described in rich detail and it is easy to see the entire story in your mind’s eye. I love how Adeyemi uses words to craft a masterpiece.

The things I did not like about this book were few and far in between. WARNING: spoilers up ahead. I advise you skip this section of the review if you do not want to read spoilers. I think that the romance was not written as well as it could have been. Inan absolutely despised Zelie for a good part of the book. He literally imagined killing her! Then, they begin working together for a short while and suddenly the two of them are in love! And suddenly he’s promising he’ll do whatever he can to help get magic back. It just seems so sudden. He has been educated by his father his entire life, he looks up to his father, so how does this one person jump into his life and change his mind so suddenly? Then, when he meets his father again, he immediately begins thinking about how awful magic is. But this is a small part in the story and there are many more important things about it.

The most important part of this book is not the story, not the setting, not the writing. It is why Adeyemi wrote this book. This may not even be obvious until you read the author’s note – it is certainly subtle – but it brings the story into so much more being. The author wrote this book to spread the awareness, the pain, the hurt of the lives of black people lost to the police. She wanted to do something, to say something about the black people – men, women and children – who were killed, who will continue to lose their lives at the hands of police officers who never looked past the color of their skin. So when you are reading this book, when you read about the death of a beloved character in this fiction book, think about the deaths of so many more who were real people and could not protect themselves.

All in all, this is a 5/5 star book. There are strong female characters and the entire cast are POC.

One more thing: I buddy-read this book with Katie from The Storybook Sisters’ blog! Check out her review as well to see her thoughts on Children of Blood and Bone. Plus, you can view all of her other posts as well, to find even more fascinating books to read! Here is the link!

Interview with Rosiee Thor, author of Tarnished are the Stars

This is my first author interview! I very recently did a book review of “Tarnished are the Stars,” which you can find here. The author of this book has agreed to do an interview with me as well! I hope you enjoy:

Q: When did you first decide you wanted to become a writer? 

A: I’ve always liked telling stories. I used to tell my mom bedtime stories when I was little, so it was never a question of wanting to be a storyteller or not, but I do remember the moment I realized that “author” was a job and it was something I could do. I was probably about twelve or thirteen, and I found the blog of–at the time unpublished–Marie Lu. She had all these blog posts and tutorials about how to get a literary agent and her progress on her books and I remember thinking wow, so that’s a thing people actually do. Before that, I always thought authors were sort of mythical like it wasn’t something real people became, but here was this person (pretty yount at the time, herself) who was doing the thing and succeeding! That was the first time I put the pieces together and realized it was something I could really pursue.Tarnished are the Stars is such a unique book, very different from anything Iโ€™ve ever read. How did you come up with the idea? If I’m being honest, the answer here is that I don’t really remember. I was in college and I was trying to convince my writing professor to let me write a novel for some writing 400 level credits. I put together a whole proposal with essentially a lesson plan for myself and goalposts for writing the book and it was perhaps the most extra thing I’ve ever done. Part of that was showing her I had an idea for a book that was worth writing and that I had a plan for it and thus… Tarnished was born. It looked a lot different back then (hardly anything was the same, honestly, not even the title) and it was a mishmash of genres and themes I thought might be marketable at the time. I didn’t get to do the independent study course, but I did write the book, and as I wrote it, the themes and elements changed to match up with things I was interested in exploring. 

Q: Are your characters based off of anyone? (Anna, Eliza, Nathaniel, anyone else?)

A: They’re not really based on anyone as a whole. There are little things that I gave each character from within myself, but it sounds terrible if I say they’re based on me haha! But it’s true–Anna is angry at systems of government, like me; Eliza is analytical and a little flamboyant, like me; and Nathaniel is on a journey to self acceptance and found family, like me as I was working on the book. I didn’t do any of this on purpose, but I think it’s the symptom of writing a book while you’re going through a big change personally. There are always pieces of ourselves that slip into the stories we tell.

Q: What did you learn while writing Tarnished? How did you grow as an author and a person while writing it?

A: Phew! Well, I learned a lot, especially about myself. When I started writing Tarnished, I thought I was 100% totally straight. I didn’t think there was an alternative other than 100% totally gay. And what a world of different identities are out there!! Writing Tarnished forced me to confront my own identity, but also joining the writing community online opened me up to so many words for identities I didn’t know existed. I found my own labels in much the same way that Nathaniel does in the book, and I’ll always be grateful that I got to go through that experience at the same time as my fictional character.

Q: What inspired you to write this book? Is there anything that you hoped to accomplish by sharing this book with the world?

A: I had a lot of intentions with Tarnished–I wanted to explore questions about identity, friendship, healthcare, corruption, environmentalism etc. I didn’t want to say just one thing, and I wanted to question more than I wanted to say. I always enjoy when books make me think about my preconceptions or assumptions and force me to examine them myself. I wanted people to walk away from Tarnished questioning the role of government and healthcare, questioning the limitations of gatekeeping identities, and hopefully questioning what the future might look like and how we can actually shape that rather than wait for it to arrive.

Q: What was something that helped you get through writing this book–a specific food, a pet, anything that helped?

A: I’ll be honest… I’m not necessarily the healthiest about my work/life balance when it comes to writing. I’m very Capricorn about it all–I make a plan, and then I execute it. I’m not particularly kind to myself about my deadlines, and I tend to overwork myself pretty badly. It’s not a good thing and it’s something I’m working on personally. What got me through writing this book were the people in my life who supported me through it and took care of me when I wasn’t taking care of myself. Writing a book is stressful, and I’m working on catastrophizing it less and finding healthier writing habits, but in the meantime I’m enormously grateful to the people who believed in me and reminded me to do important things like eat meals and sleep.

Q: What is some advice that you wish to share with aspiring authors?

A: Advice is a weird thing–I’ve gotten a lot of it over the years and most of it has been pretty hit or miss. My advice is a little meta but… don’t take all advice. Not everything will work for every author. If advice works for you, great! Take it! But don’t feel like you have to take on every piece of advice you hear. A lot of it will be contradictory or for very specific situations. Basically, advice isn’t one-size-fits-all and it will serve you well to find what works for you and roll with that. 

Q: You went through pitchwars with this book. What was that like and is there anything you want to tell people who are preparing to submit their manuscripts for this yearโ€™s pitchwars?

A: PitchWars was the most stressful experience of my life. When I talk about times of writing stress or killer deadlines, I’m talking about my time in PitchWars. It was an incredibly valuable experience and I learned a lot, but I also sacrificed my personal health to meet an arbitrary deadline that in the long run didn’t end up mattering. So here’s my advice to anyone submitting to PitchWars: PitchWars is just one way to get into publishing. Most people–even PW alums–get their agents by regular old querying. If you don’t get in, that doesn’t mean you won’t get an agent or a book deal. If you do get in, it doesn’t mean you will. Take PitchWars as a way to grow as a writer and to find a community, but remember that publishing is a long road and PitchWars might just be one step of many. It’s just one opportunity. There will be others. Whether you get accepted or rejected, be kind to yourself!

What did you think of this interview? Did you enjoy it? Do you want to read Tarnished are the Stars? Tell me what you think in the comments!

Tarnished are the Stars by Rosiee Thor

“There was nothing quite like the first tick of a new heart.”

Anna has a secret – two. A mechanical heart beats inside her chest. And she is the Technician, disregarding the Commissioner’s laws against tech to provide technology to those who need it.

“If he could find the Technician, hunt him down, and turn him in…”

Nathaniel is always looking for ways to prove himself to his father, the Commissioner. When a new opportunity arises he jumps at it, planning to capture the Technician – who he believes is an old man – to show his father that he is the heir that the Commissioner wants.

“Perhaps all pretty things had thorns. The best things, at least, most certainly did.”

Meanwhile, the Queen is suspicious of the Commissioner’s motives. She sends her spy, Eliza, to Earth Adjacent to discover what secrets the Commissioner has been keeping.

When the three meet up, they join in an uneasy alliance, fueled by their desire to learn what, exactly, the Commissioner is up to. And as they unveil more and more about the Commissioner and the Queen herself, Eliza starts to doubt who she really trusts. When a dangerous secret is revealed, however, they must all put their doubts aside and work together before they get caught – and now, getting caught is equal to death.

~~~

So we have three main characters. Anna is the tech-y one. She is fiercely loyal, slightly rash, and is terrified of doing the surgeries that her grandfather does, as a Physician. She lives in a small town named Mechan that is hidden from The Settlement by a cliff and if the Commissioner ever finds out about Mechan he will destroy it. I liked Anna for many reasons – her protectiveness, her mechanical smarts and the fact that she runs a secret business right under the nose of those who are looking for her. Also there’s the fact that her entire town is hidden from The Settlement, not that far away, either.

Then there’s Nathaniel. Nathaniel is the one that everyone feels bad about. His father’s only heir, but a disappointment to his family because he also has a metal heart in his chest – the very technology that his father has banished. For his entire life, whatever he does is never enough for his abusive father and this drives him to try to capture the Technician to prove himself.

Finally, we have Eliza who, at first glance, doesn’t seem to belong in the story. She doesn’t live on the same world as Anna and Nathaniel, instead residing in The Tower, the space station where the queen and many others – called ‘Orbitals’ by those in Earth Adjacent – live while waiting for Earth Adjacent to be fully terra-formed. But it is really Eliza who brings all three of them together.

The world, too, is unlike anything I’ve read. It’s such an interesting setting and idea for the world which just makes the entire book more interesting to read. I’m still amazed that Anna’s entire town was able to hide from the Commissioner. I’m curious to know what the rest of the island, besides the Settlement and Mechan is like.

There was only one problem I had with this book and it was a small one. I felt like the relationship between two characters developed too quickly. I understand that there was not much time in the book for it to develop but it just seemed very hurried.

This is a book I would recommend to anyone age 12 or older. I would give it a rating of four out of five stars and there is a f/f relationship and a character unsure of their sexuality at the end of the book (though this person is beginning to think that they are asexual/aromantic).

What do you think about this book? Have you read it? Do you want to read it? What did you think about this review? Tell me what you think!