Books · Review

Book Review: Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert

 

Take a Hint, Dani Brown (Kobo eBook) | The Elliott Bay Book Company

 

Synopsis:

Danika Brown knows what she wants: professional success, academic renown, and an occasional roll in the hay to relieve all that career-driven tension. But romance? Been there, done that, burned the T-shirt. Romantic partners, whatever their gender, are a distraction at best and a drain at worst. So Dani asks the universe for the perfect friend-with-benefits—someone who knows the score and knows their way around the bedroom.

When brooding security guard Zafir Ansari rescues Dani from a workplace fire drill gone wrong, it’s an obvious sign: PhD student Dani and ex-rugby player Zaf are destined to sleep together. But before she can explain that fact, a video of the heroic rescue goes viral. Now half the internet is shipping #DrRugbae—and Zaf is begging Dani to play along. Turns out, his sports charity for kids could really use the publicity. Lying to help children? Who on earth would refuse?

Dani’s plan is simple: fake a relationship in public, seduce Zaf behind the scenes. The trouble is, grumpy Zaf’s secretly a hopeless romantic—and he’s determined to corrupt Dani’s stone-cold realism. Before long, he’s tackling her fears into the dirt. But the former sports star has issues of his own, and the walls around his heart are as thick as his… um, thighs.

Suddenly, the easy lay Dani dreamed of is more complex than her thesis. Has her wish backfired? Is her focus being tested? Or is the universe just waiting for her to take a hint?


My Thoughts:

Oh. My. God. This. Book.

It was EVERYTHING!!

I absolutely loved the first book, Get a Life, Chloe Brown, so I had high expectations for this book, and it did not disappoint! It was addicting and engaging from the very first page. From the fact I was already laughing and smiling on the first page, I knew it was going to be amazing.

It was exactly what I needed. I have been in a slump lately and I need something fun, light and easy to read. Take a Hint, Dani Brown is exactly that!

I love the fake dating trope, it is one of my faves! I love it when characters pretend to date and you slowly see them realise their feelings and actions are not faked. *swoon*
I’m so used to this trope in YA but it’s nice to see it in an adult setting – it was sexy and steamy, as you would imagine for an adult romance. It wasn’t cheesy or cringe, which is perfect for me as I get secondhand embarrassment quite easily!
The TENSION, my goodness; I was d y i n g for them to get together. It was everything I enjoy in a romance. I was thriving while reading this.

Anxiety/grief rep: really, really well written. It was very realistic and relatable. (Could be triggering, so be aware if these are your triggers!) The anxiety and grief were well balanced in the novel, though this is a romance and predominantly happy and cheery, it did deal with darker topics – these didn’t feel out of place or forced at all.

Writing style: I love Talia Hibbert’s writing. It is incredibly addictive, so humorous and fun. I literally was obsessed. The banter and sarcasm are just right up my alley, I live for that kind of humour. I laughed out loud at many moments, it was an absolute joy to read. I was laughing and smiling all throughout!

The characters are all incredibly well written and I was instantly attached and invested in all of them. There really wasn’t any negative aspects!


Characters:

Dani:   Nerdy, Black, fat, & Bisexual

I loved Dani!! Such a great protagonist. She’s cool and relatable, I really liked her personality and sense of humour. I found her easy to connect to, I just want her to be my best friend. Her character is so well written and developed, she feels so real.
She’s so unapologetically herself, she’s super sex-positive, and super sassy!

Zaf: Muslim, ex-rugby player with anxiety/dealing with grief.

OH MY GOD, ZAF. What an actual cinnamon roll!! I need me a Zaf in my life. I love that Zaf is a grumpy, broody type but is a total softy underneath. It was too cute!!. He is a total sweetheart and completely swoon-worthy. I loved him. He’s so caring and lovely and troubled. I just want to give him a hug. 

 

Rating: 4.5 Stars
*Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with an early copy


Books · Review

I’m Disappointed. RANT/Review: House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City #1) by Sarah J Maas

 

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Half-Fae, half-human Bryce Quinlan loves her life. By day, she works for an antiquities dealer, selling barely legal magical artifacts, and by night, she parties with her friends, savouring every pleasure Lunathion—otherwise known as Crescent City— has to offer. But it all comes crumbling down when a ruthless murder shakes the very foundations of the city—and Bryce’s world.

Two years later, her job has become a dead end, and she now seeks only blissful oblivion in the city’s most notorious nightclubs. But when the murderer attacks again, Bryce finds herself dragged into the investigation and paired with an infamous Fallen angel whose own brutal past haunts his every step.

Hunt Athalar, personal assassin for the Archangels, wants nothing to do with Bryce Quinlan, despite being ordered to protect her. She stands for everything he once rebelled against and seems more interested in partying than solving the murder, no matter how close to home it might hit. But Hunt soon realizes there’s far more to Bryce than meets the eye—and that he’s going to have to find a way to work with her if they want to solve this case.

As Bryce and Hunt race to untangle the mystery, they have no way of knowing the threads they tug ripple through the underbelly of the city, across warring continents, and down to the darkest levels of Hel, where things that have been sleeping for millennia are beginning to stir…


My Thoughts:

I had super high expectations for this book, it was one of my most anticipated reads for 2020. I kinda feel let down. I fully expected to adore this, I love SJM books and all the reviews were full of praises and 5-star ratings.

The first half, so like 400 pages, was SLOW. So very slow. I was reading this for 3 weeks and only got half way. It was a whole bunch of nothing going on. The first 80ish pages are really good and something unexpected happens, which gave me hope for a fast pace, engaging story but nope. After that initial blow, it slowed down dramatically.

The plot feels the same as ACOTAR and TOG. This book lacked originality in terms of plot and character, which is a shame as the world is really, really interesting. At this point, it feels like SJM is recycling plots and characters, the only thing that felt new in this story was the world. The addition of technology in a magical world was really well done and very different to her other worlds. The technology/ modern inspired setting definitely was unexpected. I didn’t hear anyone mention this and it wasn’t in the synopsis or anything, I fully expected it to be more ‘medieval’. I’m glad it wasn’t, it definitely added a lot to this otherwise not very original book.

This book is marketed as SJM’s first adult novel, but honestly, it doesn’t seem much different to her previous novels. I never felt SJM’s previous series were anything but YA, I know a lot of people say it’s not YA but it is in my opinion. At least, in the UK we have ‘teen’ and ‘young adult’ separate and her books fit into my idea of young adult. Other than the very prevalent drug use and mention in this book, I don’t really see any ‘adult’ features. It’s nothing like any adult fantasy I’ve read, it is very similar to the YA adult fantasy books in term of tropes and characters.
PLUS – there’s hardly any sex. This was a huge surprise to me, I fully expected it to be steamier and graphically sexual since this is marketed as adult fantasy and SJM’s YA is filled with sex. Kind of disappointed, kind of not. Some of SJM’s sex scenes are fine and some outrageously cringe, so there’s not of that at least!

The thing I hated the most?
No one can just be normal/average/etc. Everyone has to be someone special, royalty or overpowered. No one can be average looking or below, everyone is obscenely good looking and wanted by anyone who crossing their path. Weaknesses? Doesn’t exist in the SJM universe. This makes the plot and reveals pretty predictable, you just know *something* will happen to the character and boom they’re special/over powered etc.

This review sounds mostly negative but I did actually like the book. It was decent. Once it picked up it was very good and addicting. Like I said at the beginning, it takes 400+ pages to get good, that’s too much in my opinion. It took me a MONTH to get half way through, I read the remaining half in a day, that’s how much it picks up. It goes from 0 to 100 half way through. This book could’ve been great with some good editing, it need like 300 pages cut out, which would’ve improved it by 50%.

Another thing I liked, the different species (?)/creature in this world. There’s fae, demi-fae, angels, wolf-shifters, vampires, etc etc. I wish there was more world-building, for such a chunky book there is a lack of good world-building. The world is interesting SJM, EXPLAIN IT. Tell me more! I hope we get more in the next one.

Also, there were some really beautiful and emotional moments. One thing SJM excels at is making me emotional, I don’t cry or get upset often but this did have me tear up a bit.

Finally, there were really great quotes throughout!
My favourite being: “Through love, all is possible.”


Let’s talk about the characters:

Bryce:
I like Bryce, she’s a great character. It took me a while to connect to her but I definitely did by half way through. Her grief and depression was very well written and I could sympathise with and relate to Bryce on this aspect.
BUT – she is just a hybrid of Aelin + Feyre.
I do like sassy, confident female characters, so that’s not a complaint from me but she is very much like Aelin.

Hunt:
And here we have a Rhys and Rowan hybrid.
I liked Hunt, I really did but was his any different to SJM’s other men? Not by much. HOWEVER, I feel like he’s the only love interest that doesn’t start off as an abusive ass? *cough* Rowan *cough*
I think Hunt may be my favourite SJM main character love interest… he’s not quite my favourite male (vom) but he’s up there with Dorian.

Danika: I wish we had more, I actually really liked Danika. I really loved the friendship between her and Bryce. The emphasis of friendship in this novel was really nice to see! There’s a lack of strong female friendships in fantasy!
But again, she is like Aelin.

Fury: Basically Amren, at least that’s the vibe I got.

Ruhn: Emo/Edgy Aedion

Oh, and everybody is white… Are we surprised?


Is this my favourite SJM novel? No.

Did I enjoy it anyway?
Yes.

Will I continue the series? Yeah, definitely. It has potential and I actually have no idea where this story will go. From the comments I’d heard about House of Earth and Blood I fully expected a huge cliffhanger but there wasn’t. There wasn’t really anything to hook the reader on, despite the epilogue. However, I shall continue!

Rating: 3 Stars

Books · Review

Audiobook Review: Let Me Hear a Rhyme by Tiffany D. Jackson

 

Synopsis:
Biggie Smalls was right. Things done changed. But that doesn’t mean that Quadir and Jarrell are okay letting their best friend Steph’s tracks lie forgotten in his bedroom after he’s killed—not when his beats could turn any Bed-Stuy corner into a celebration, not after years of having each other’s backs.

Enlisting the help of Steph’s younger sister, Jasmine, Quadir and Jarrell come up with a plan to promote Steph’s music under a new rap name: The Architect. Soon, everyone in Brooklyn is dancing to Steph’s voice. But then his mixtape catches the attention of a hotheaded music rep and—with just hours on the clock—the trio must race to prove Steph’s talent from beyond the grave.

Now, as the pressure—and danger—of keeping their secret grows, Quadir, Jarrell, and Jasmine are forced to confront the truth about what happened to Steph. Only each has something to hide. And with everything riding on Steph’s fame, together they need to decide what they stand for before they lose everything they’ve worked so hard to hold on to—including each other.


TW/CW: Death/Murder, Grief, Gangs, Gun Violence, Sex (talk of sex but no actual sex scenes)

My Thoughts:

I picked this up on a whim, I saw it available at my library, I needed an audiobook and it was by a Black author – win/win.  I hadn’t ever heard of this author or book before, which is surprising because it’s a great read! I will be picking up more from this author.

It follows three black teens, after the murder of Steph (two are his friends, one is his sister) trying to make him a successful rapper by releasing his music and pretending he’s still alive. I was very intrigued about how Steph died and how they were going to pull off this whole scheme. It was a little slow in places towards the middle, but not boring . It did pick up towards the end more but the very end felt a little rushed. Other than that, it was well written. I really liked the author’s writing style.

The setting – It’s set in the late 90s in New York. I absolutely loved this setting, it was so cool and interesting. I love the 90s vibe, it was right up my alley. It made me wish I grew up in the 90s. (I am a 90s baby, but I remember none of it)
I enjoyed learning about the culture of Brooklyn in the 90s and what growing up during this time was like. The hip-hop scene was super cool and a link in the community, which was really lovely to see.

Characters – I enjoyed each perspective the story had. Which is surprising. I really like Jasmine, she was probably my favourite POV. I really enjoyed the friendship that bloomed between Jasmine and Steph’s friends, Quadir and Jarrell. They bonded in their loss of Steph, which was lovely to see that something happy came out of their grief.

Narrators:

This audiobook had full cast narration – which I’m not usually a fan of because there’s usually at least one annoying narrator.  BUT I actually liked all the narrators for this! (Will add them to my approved narrator lists) I’m super picky with narrators, they can completely ruin a book for me.

The audiobook really brought the story and characters to life. The rhymes are really effective in the audio format, I think this would be better than just reading the text. Also, the slang came through well in the audio, it felt natural and authentic. (Not that I’m an expert on Black slang in the States)

Rating: 4 Stars


Books · Review

BEST Book of the Year?! | Book Review: Beach Read by Emily Henry

*Thank you to Netgalley for the free ARC in exchange for an honest review; all opinions are my own.

TW/CW: Death of parent/grief, Cancer

Synopsis:

He doesn’t believe in happy endings.
She’s lost her faith that they exist.
But could they find one together?


January is a hopeless romantic who likes narrating her life as if she’s the heroine in a blockbuster movie.
Augustus is a serious literary type who thinks true love is a fairy-tale.
January and Augustus are not going to get on.

But they actually have more in common than you’d think:

They’re both broke.
They’ve got crippling writer’s block.
They need to write bestsellers before the end of the summer.

The result? A bet to see who can get their book published first.
The catch? They have to swap genres.
The risk? In telling each other’s stories, their worlds might be changed entirely… 


My Thoughts:
This was INCREDIBLE.
I loved every moment of this book!! The characters, the story, the romance – everything. I was fully captivated by it all! I was hooked from the moment I started it. I haven’t been invested in a book like this in a while! I have been in an almighty slump for m o n t h s. I think this cured it! I read this in less than 48 hours, which is a miracle because everything has been taking me weeks to read.

This is the perfect romance, for me personally. I am not a fan of cheesy/cringy romance, I like cute and feels without suffering from secondhand embarrassment – which this novel did perfectly. I found myself swooning (and squealing) and rooting for the romance – it didn’t annoy me in the slightest. There was angst and a bit of slow burn, which I adore! If I’m not dying for the couple to kiss/touch then what’s the point?!

Not only is this a romance novel but there is so much more substance than that – there’s love and loss, friendship, illness/cancer & family secrets. It was very well intertwined with the romance plot, everything flowed flawlessly. Nothing felt forced or out of place, it all worked amazingly well together.

I loved the sarcasm and witty writing style – it was such a breeze to read. I didn’t want to put this down, I was GLUED to this book. If I didn’t have other things to do I would’ve read the whole thing in one go. I had to know what happened and I NEEDED to get to the romancey parts.

I literally have nothing bad to see, I had no faults with this book. It was PERFECTION!

Characters:
January: I really liked January, she was a great protagonist, she was funny and relatable and very realistically written. She was easy to attach to, emotionally. I was instantly connected to her and was fully invested from the first chapter.
Her friendship was also lovely to see, there was no drama or pettiness, just genuine girl/girl platonic love. It was so lovely to see!

Gus: I LOVED Gus!! He was so adorable. His chemistry with January was undeniable from the beginning. Their relationship fits the enemies/rivals to friends to lovers trope perfectly! I loved the banter between Gus and January, it all felt very real and funny – nothing was over the top or unrealistic.

Overall, definitely a new fave! I will be buying a physical copy because I will definitely reread this in the future. I will be recommending this to EVERYONE. It’s my favourite read of 2020 so far!
If you’re going to read one summery romance this year, make sure it is this one!

Rating: 5 Stars

Books · Review

Review: The Kingdom by Jess Rothenberg

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Synopsis:

Welcome to the Kingdom… where ‘Happily Ever After’ isn’t just a promise, but a rule.

Glimmering like a jewel behind its gateway, The Kingdom is an immersive fantasy theme park where guests soar on virtual dragons, castles loom like giants, and bioengineered species–formerly extinct–roam free.

Ana is one of seven Fantasists, beautiful “princesses” engineered to make dreams come true. When she meets park employee Owen, Ana begins to experience emotions beyond her programming including, for the first time… love.

But the fairytale becomes a nightmare when Ana is accused of murdering Owen, igniting the trial of the century. Through courtroom testimony, interviews, and Ana’s memories of Owen, emerges a tale of love, lies, and cruelty–and what it truly means to be human.


CW/TW: Child Abuse, Death, Suicide, Animal Abuse

My Thoughts:

The concept and setting are really interesting, I was instantly intrigued just from the blurb. Once I started reading it did intrigue me and kept me interested, it did take me a while to read it though, it wasn’t super gripping. It’s quite a slow-paced book, there’s not a lot (if any) action, it relies solely on intrigue to drive the plot. There’s a lot of repetition, you get to see everyday life as a fantasist and that got a bit monotonous at times. I was constantly waiting for something to happen.

As for the world itself: The Kingdom is very atmospheric, it’s a beautiful place but sinister and dark behind the scenes.  You don’t get to see the outside world but from the few hints given, it’s a dystopian kind of society.

I enjoyed this book, it certainly wasn’t bad… There was just something missing from this book. I don’t know what it is exactly but I wanted more. It was enjoyable but slow. I wish there was more explained about the world etc. The ending was pretty predictable, the ‘plot twist’ was completely obvious, therefore, had little effect. I feel like the set up of this book leads you to believe something will happen and the ending feels a bit incomplete?

There’s a lot of questions left to be answers and definitely room for a sequel… If there was one I would read it. I was definitely intrigued enough to carry on, should there be more books.

Characters:
Ana:
We follow Ana, a fantasist – which is kinda like a cyborg – whose duty it is to work in The Kingdom and create a ‘Happily ever after’ for the visitors. I can’t say I was super attached to Ana, she wasn’t a bad protagonist but she wasn’t amazing either. It was interesting to see how fantasists think and work, but overall she was quite a flat character until the end when she rapidly gets development, which wasn’t paced well. Her love interest was just okay, nothing special. I didn’t find myself swooning or shipping them really.

Rating: 3 Stars


Have you read The Kingdom? What did you think?
Audiobooks · Books · Review

Audiobook Review: Sofia Khan is Not Obliged by Ayisha Malik

Sofia Khan is Not Obliged በAyisha Malik - በGoogle Play ላይ ያሉ ...

Synopsis:

“Brilliant idea! Excellent! Muslim dating? Well, I had no idea you were allowed to date.’ Then he leaned towards me and looked at me sympathetically. ‘Are your parents quite disappointed?’

Unlucky in love once again after her possible-marriage-partner-to-be proves a little too close to his parents, Sofia Khan is ready to renounce men for good. Or at least she was, until her boss persuades her to write a tell-all expose about the Muslim dating scene.

As her woes become her work, Sofia must lean on the support of her brilliant friends, baffled colleagues and baffling parents as she goes in search of stories for her book. In amongst the marriage-crazy relatives, racist tube passengers and decidedly odd online daters, could there be a lingering possibility that she might just be falling in love . . . ?


Rep: Pakistani Mulism

My thoughts:

I had never read a Muslim romance before, I didn’t know at all how dating worked in regards to their religion – so I was interested to learn about it! It surprised me, I have to say, I am obviously very ignorant to how Muslim relationships work. It was more lax than I anticipated and more relatable too.

It was dubbed ‘Muslim Bridget Jones’ – although it was amusing, it wasn’t laugh-out-loud funny. I did get Bridget Jones vibes from Sofia, if you like those books/films you’d probably enjoy this too. I really enjoyed the humour throughout the book!

There’s a lot of day-to-day life shown, which is fine to listen to, I don’t think I would’ve enjoyed if I read it. Also, it is very dialogue heavy, which I believe comes across well on audio, not sure it would be as enjoyable to physically read. It definitely could’ve been edited down more, it was a long audiobook and most of it was filler. With that being said, I didn’t find myself bored at any point.

Narrator: Rita Sharma has a voice that’s very easy to listen to for hours. I listen to the whole thing (11.5ish hours) in 3 days or so. It was very bingeable, I listened to more than half of it in one day. I was pretty invested in Sofia’s story!

Dislikes/TW:
There were some offensive jokes about black people and a lot of fatphobia. That being said, it did touch upon other issues such as stereotypes, immigration and racism. It’s a shame it included other forms of prejudice.

Rating: 3 Stars

Audiobooks · Books · Review

Audiobook Review: The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

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“As they say, history does not repeat itself, but it rhymes.”

 

Synopsis:

When the van door slammed on Offred’s future at the end of The Handmaid’s Tale, readers had no way of telling what lay ahead for her–freedom, prison or death.

With The Testaments, the wait is over.

Margaret Atwood’s sequel picks up the story more than fifteen years after Offred stepped into the unknown, with the explosive testaments of three female narrators from Gilead.

 


Plot:
I was one of the few people who actually wanted a sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, I was never satisfied by the ending. I wanted to know all of Offred’s story and although thinking back, it isn’t necessary, it is still nice to finally get some closure.

This book brought an interesting, new perspective on Gilead, from the view of an Aunt (or THE Aunt, Lydia), a teen who lives there and a teen who lives in Canada.

The teen characters gave The Testaments a more ‘lax’ feel. Although this book isn’t really a necessary addition to The Handmaid’s Tale, it definitely is a more ‘enjoyable’ read. The Handmaid’s Tale is a great book, there’s no denying that but it isn’t ‘enjoyable’ – it is quite scary and harrowing at points, especially for women.

I really enjoyed learning more about Gilead, the Aunts etc. It was interesting, I think the world Margaret Atwood created is fascinating. I always wondered what happened to Offred at the ending of The Handmaid’s Tale and how Gilead falls, so I was curious enough to pick this up. I know a lot of people complained that they didn’t want/need a sequel… which is fair enough; simply don’t read it!

I listened to this on audiobook – I am very glad I did. It had a full cast narration, which was really, really good. All the narrators were great to listen to and very engaging.

I really liked the contrast between the two teenagers. They’re both products of their environments and it interesting to see their views and ways of thinking. Especially, the one from Gilead, growing up with the mindset Gilead is good and the outside world is bad etc. It was interesting. The younger perspectives mad the novel feel more relaxed, as I stated earlier, this was more enjoyable than THT, in my opinion.

It wasn’t what I thought it would be, I was pleasantly surprised. There were some good twists, it was well-paced and well written. It’s not the best novel in the world but I can’t fault it either. It was a good read. If/when I reread THT, I would probably reread this too.

Rating: 4 Stars

 

Have you read The Testaments? What were your thoughts?

 

Books · Graphic Novels · Review

Review: Heartstopper Volume 1 by Alice Oseman

 

Heartstopper Volume One: Amazon.co.uk: Alice Oseman: Books

Synopsis:

Charlie, a highly-strung, openly gay over-thinker, and Nick, a cheerful, soft-hearted rugby player, meet at a British all-boys grammar school. Friendship blooms quickly, but could there be something more…?

Charlie Spring is in Year 10 at Truham Grammar School for Boys. The past year hasn’t been too great, but at least he’s not being bullied anymore, and he’s sort of got a boyfriend, even if he’s kind of mean and only wants to meet up in secret.

Nick Nelson is in Year 11 and on the school rugby team. He’s heard a little about Charlie – the kid who was outed last year and bullied for a few months – but he’s never had the opportunity to talk to him. That is, until the start of January, in which Nick and Charlie are placed in the same form group and made to sit together.

They quickly become friends, and soon Charlie is falling hard for Nick, even though he doesn’t think he has a chance. But love works in surprising ways, and sometimes good things are waiting just around the corner…


My Thoughts:

I had heard nothing but amazing things about this graphic novel series, so naturally, I was sceptical. I have been lured in by hype before and been very disappointed. However, this, oh my god, I see the hype.

Firstly, the artwork – LOVE. I don’t usually go for b&w graphic novels but it fit the art style and story really well. I love the illustration style, it was adorable.

THE FEELS.
This made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. It put me in such a good mood, it’s definitely a great pick-me-up book! I was feeling depressed and was in a major reading slump and this was PERFECT.

I like that it’s a British school setting, which I’ve rarely seen in YA. It’s nice to see something familiar and different from the usual American high school setting I’ve mostly seen in YA. It was a breath of fresh air!

This is a different kind of graphic novel for me, I tend to go for more sci-fi/fantasy based ones, but this was a nice change. A contemporary romance definitely works well as a graphic novel. Also, I really appreciate the fact it was very cute and adorable without being cringy or awkward. My main complaint with YA romance is that it’s just too cheesy and cringe for me but this has none of that! No cringe but all the mushy feels!

If you haven’t picked this up yet, PLEASE DO! It’s so wholesome, you won’t regret it!

Rating: 5 Stars

 

Audiobooks · Books · Review

Audiobook Review: Black Girl Unlimited by Echo Brown (Spoiler free)

 

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Hello guys, long time no see. Hope you’re all staying safe and well!
I haven’t had the motivation to blog recently but I’m feeling a bit more motivated now and I just had to share this book with everyone.

 

*I was sent this ALC from Libro.fm in exchange for an honest review

CW: Trauma, abuse, rape, child sexual abuse/pedophilia, mentions of suicide, racism, death 

Synopsis:
Echo Brown is a wizard from the East Side, where apartments are small and parents suffer addictions to the white rocks. Yet there is magic . . . everywhere. New portals begin to open when Echo transfers to the rich school on the West Side, and an insightful teacher becomes a pivotal mentor. Each day, Echo travels between two worlds, leaving her brothers, her friends, and a piece of herself behind on the East Side. There are dangers to leaving behind the place that made you. Echo soon realizes there is pain flowing through everyone around her, and a black veil of depression threatens to undo everything she’s worked for.

Heavily autobiographical and infused with magical realism, Black Girl Unlimited fearlessly explores the intersections of poverty, sexual violence, depression, racism, and sexism—all through the arc of a transcendent coming-of-age.


My thoughts:

Heartbreaking and painful – definitely not a light read. It deals with very heavy topics, please check the content warning for this one before reading.

I have no idea where to begin this review – it’s definitely not what I expected. I thought it was pure fantasy but it’s based on Echo Brown’s life. How she managed to make trauma magical, I have no idea. I had no idea what to expect going in, I assumed it was a fantasy story, purely fantasy. How wrong I was. The fantasy/ magical realism is heavily metaphorical, ‘wizards’ are not how you would expect. The term ‘wizard’ is used as a metaphor for survivors.

This novel gives insight into the treatment of Black people, especially Black women, in the USA. It was harrowing to read, I can’t even imagine living through it and coming out so hopeful and positive. Brown doesn’t skimp over any details in the novel – the harsh truth is shown, the devastating consequences but ultimately the hope that remains. This book made me quite emotional, which I haven’t had in a book in a while.

Everything is incredibly well written and well narrated. The author reads the audiobook herself, which is just great. She’s amazing! This is the most unique memoir/ autobiography I’ve read. I haven’t heard anyone talk about this book but it is an incredibly important and powerful read. I think everyone should try this book, the message is beautiful and inspiring.

Sidenote – the cover is insanely beautiful. The artwork is outstanding!

Highly, highly recommend picking this one up!

Rating: 4 Stars

Books · Review

Review: Starsight by Brandon Sanderson (Spoiler Free)

 

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“A hero does not choose her trials. She steps into the darkness, then she faces what comes next.”

 

****MAY contain spoilers for book one: Skyward. Spoiler-free review of Skyward here!

Synopsis:
All her life, Spensa has dreamed of becoming a pilot. Of proving she’s a hero like her father. She made it to the sky, but the truths she learned about her father were crushing.

Spensa is sure there’s more to the story. And she’s sure that whatever happened to her father in his starship could happen to her. When she made it outside the protective shell of her planet, she heard the stars–and it was terrifying. Everything Spensa has been taught about her world is a lie.

But Spensa also discovered a few other things about herself–and she’ll travel to the end of the galaxy to save humankind if she needs to. Plot:


Plot:

It felt so amazing to dive back into this world, especially after the ending of Skyward.

The beginning and the end were the best parts; it got a little slow in the middle – which I found with the last book too. That didn’t take too much away from the story, I just wish it was all fast pace, but that’s a personal preference.

I love the introduction of a new place and new characters, the world-building, as with every Sanderson novel, was absolutely incredible. I loved diving into this world and learning more about the universe and Spensa’s world and humans in this universe. So many questions I had from the first novel were answered here and some had really surprise twists! I expect no less from Sanderson, his twists are incredibly well written and unpredictable. How he manages to surprise me in every novel, I have no idea! You’d think I’d be used to it by now, this is the 9th book I’ve read by him. He never lets me down!

It really picked up towards the end, I was captivated! I couldn’t put the book down, I just had to know what happened.  Then… OMG, the ending. INSANE.  I am SHOOOOOOOOK. GIVE ME BOOK 3! Unfortunately, I’ll have to wait a long while… *cries*
It leaves off on a KILLER cliffhanger. Brandon, HOW DARE YOU.

Characters:
Spensa:  I love Spensa!! I was so happy to continue her story and journey. I really love her character development over this novel. I have grown more and more attached to her and I’m super invested in her character!
I was hoping to see Spensa interact with the other characters from Skyward more, but they are pretty absent from this book.

M-Bot: Why do I love an AI system so much?

Doomslug: MY BABY! So glad I got what I wanted from this book!! Cannot wait for more Doomslug.

Rating: 4.25 Stars


Have you read Starsight? What did you think?