Review: The Bookish Life of Nina Hill

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Ali Waxman

Genre: Chick Lit
Maturity Level: 4
View on Goodreads

The only child of a single mother, Nina has her life just as she wants it: a job in a bookstore, a kick-butt trivia team, a world-class planner and a cat named Phil. If she sometimes suspects there might be more to life than reading, she just shrugs and picks up a new book.

When the father Nina never knew existed suddenly dies, leaving behind innumerable sisters, brothers, nieces, and nephews, Nina is horrified. They all live close by! They’re all—or mostly all—excited to meet her! She’ll have to Speak. To. Strangers. It’s a disaster! And as if that wasn’t enough, Tom, her trivia nemesis, has turned out to be cute, funny, and deeply interested in getting to know her. Doesn’t he realize what a terrible idea that is?

Nina considers her options.

1. Completely change her name and appearance. (Too drastic, plus she likes her hair.)
2. Flee to a deserted island. (Hard pass, see: coffee).
3. Hide in a corner of her apartment and rock back and forth. (Already doing it.)

It’s time for Nina to come out of her comfortable shell, but she isn’t convinced real life could ever live up to fiction. It’s going to take a brand-new family, a persistent suitor, and the combined effects of ice cream and trivia to make her turn her own fresh page.

Nina was the most intensely relatable protagonist of all time. It was literally like reading a book about myself. The things she said, thought, and did were all so ME. I especially loved her snarky responses and conversation. Abbi Waxman just gets me, and I need to make friends with her NOW please. Although, thankfully, I don’t have anxiety as bad as Nina does.

Continue reading “Review: The Bookish Life of Nina Hill”

Review: Red White & Royal Blue

Red White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

Genre: Romance
Maturity Level: 5
View on Goodreads
Rating: ⋆⋆⋆⋆

When his mother became President, Alex Claremont-Diaz was promptly cast as the American equivalent of a young royal. Handsome, charismatic, genius—his image is pure millennial-marketing gold for the White House. There’s only one problem: Alex has a beef with the actual prince, Henry, across the pond. And when the tabloids get hold of a photo involving an Alex-Henry altercation, U.S./British relations take a turn for the worse.

Heads of family, state, and other handlers devise a plan for damage control: staging a truce between the two rivals. What at first begins as a fake, Instragramable friendship grows deeper, and more dangerous, than either Alex or Henry could have imagined. Soon Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret romance with a surprisingly unstuffy Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations and begs the question: Can love save the world after all? Where do we find the courage, and the power, to be the people we are meant to be? And how can we learn to let our true colors shine through?

I should start by saying that I have never reviewed a romance novel before. I don’t actually *like* romance novels, and if I had known this was one I never would have put it on hold from the library. All the YA bloggers were reading it, and so I just assumed it was YA. So my opinions of this book will reflect what I don’t like about the genre, and I honestly don’t know much of anything about the genre and have nothing to compare it to.

Continue reading “Review: Red White & Royal Blue”

Calendar Girls September: Favorite Book About Pirates

So at first I was sooooooo excited about this theme because I freaking love pirates. Then I got worried because I didn’t think I’d read any books that were about pirates, I’d maybe just seen movies? I had a bit of a crisis, honestly. Then I took a deep breath and remembered that I’ve read Treasure Island more than once. After that, I remembered a couple of others. So. Whew.

But the thing is, I’m looking through the list of books I’ve read, and other than Treasure Island none of them are actually *about* pirates. The best example that I can come up with here is The Princess Bride, which I’ve read and loved more than once. Obviously, Westley becomes the Dread Pirate Roberts, and Westley is an important part of the book. But nobody would say the book is about pirates. Another great example is Beauty Queens by Libba Bray. Pirates make an appearance, but it’s definitely about beauty queens stuck on a desert island.

This is obviously a travesty, and I’m very much looking forward to getting some suggestions.

So, anticlimactically, I’ve already shared with you the book that, I guess, is my pick.

Continue reading “Calendar Girls September: Favorite Book About Pirates”

Review: Sorcery of Thorns

Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Maturity Level: 4-
View on Goodreads

All sorcerers are evil. Elisabeth has known that as long as she has known anything. Raised as a foundling in one of Austermeer’s Great Libraries, Elisabeth has grown up among the tools of sorcery—magical grimoires that whisper on shelves and rattle beneath iron chains. If provoked, they transform into grotesque monsters of ink and leather. She hopes to become a warden, charged with protecting the kingdom from their power.

Then an act of sabotage releases the library’s most dangerous grimoire. Elisabeth’s desperate intervention implicates her in the crime, and she is torn from her home to face justice in the capital. With no one to turn to but her sworn enemy, the sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn, and his mysterious demonic servant, she finds herself entangled in a centuries-old conspiracy. Not only could the Great Libraries go up in flames, but the world along with them.

As her alliance with Nathaniel grows stronger, Elisabeth starts to question everything she’s been taught—about sorcerers, about the libraries she loves, even about herself. For Elisabeth has a power she has never guessed, and a future she could never have imagined.

Have you ever finished a book and immediately jumped out of your chair and run around the house yelling “Oh my god this book!!!!!”? Because that was totally me. I loved everything about this book, but the ending in particular was so absolutely perfect. If you love YA fantasy or books about books this is a must-read.

Continue reading “Review: Sorcery of Thorns”

Review: The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu

The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu and their Race to Save the World’s Most Precious Manuscripts by Joshua Hammer

Genre: Non-Fiction, History/Current Events
Maturity Level: 4*
View on Goodreads

*Some Al Qaeda killings and body mutilations are described, which might be disturbing to some readers, however are not graphic. The novel is otherwise pretty G-rated.

In the 1980s, a young adventurer and collector for a government library, Abdel Kader Haidara, journeyed across the Sahara Desert and along the Niger River, tracking down and salvaging tens of thousands of ancient Islamic and secular manuscripts that had fallen into obscurity. The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu tells the incredible story of how Haidara, a mild-mannered archivist and historian from the legendary city of Timbuktu, later became one of the world’s greatest and most brazen smugglers.

In 2012, thousands of Al Qaeda militants from northwest Africa seized control of most of Mali, including Timbuktu. They imposed Sharia law, chopped off the hands of accused thieves, stoned to death unmarried couples, and threatened to destroy the great manuscripts. As the militants tightened their control over Timbuktu, Haidara organized a dangerous operation to sneak all 350,000 volumes out of the city to the safety of southern Mali.

I’m going to do something I almost never do, which is start my review with a major criticism, mostly because I think that this might be a deal-breaker for many readers. This book is less about the priceless manuscripts than the title and synopsis might lead you to imagine. It’s really almost like Hammer wrote two books, one about Haidara and the manuscripts, and another that was essentially a history of the middle-eastern conflict in Mali and Timbuktu, and then kind of shoved them together.

Continue reading “Review: The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu”

The Marvel Avengers Book Tag

So I’ve obviously missed the hype for this. God bless those of you who actually clicked to read this, SO MANY MONTHS LATER. lol.

Actually, the theme for my school and classroom this year is superheros, and I just started school on Thursday, SO I SAY THIS FITS! There.

Samantha at Modern Witch’s Bookshelf did this one back when Endgame came out, and I probably bookmarked it because I was so hyped about that movie. Geez, when is it coming out on DVD so I can watch it again??? (Watch it’s already out and I’m just that out of things…) In light of cleaning out my tag folder and a Superhero themed classroom, now seemed like as good a time as any to do this tag.

Iron Man – A book that made you laugh out loud

Where’d You Go Bernadette? might just be the funniest book I have ever read. If you haven’t read it, you REALLY should.

Continue reading “The Marvel Avengers Book Tag”

Review: Dark Matter

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

Genres: Thriller, Science Fiction
Maturity Level: 5
View on Goodreads
Rating: ⋆⋆⋆

Jason Dessen is walking home through the chilly Chicago streets one night, looking forward to a quiet evening in front of the fireplace with his wife, Daniela, and their son, Charlie—when his reality shatters.

It starts with a man in a mask kidnapping him at gunpoint, for reasons Jason can’t begin to fathom—what would anyone want with an ordinary physics professor?—and grows even more terrifying from there, as Jason’s abductor injects him with some unknown drug and watches while he loses consciousness.

When Jason awakes, he’s in a lab, strapped to a gurney—and a man he’s never seen before is cheerily telling him “welcome back!”

Jason soon learns that in this world he’s woken up to, his house is not his house. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born.

And someone is hunting him.

I am beginning to discover that maybe thrillers aren’t for me. This one is great. It’s smart, there’s no gratuitous violence for the sake of it, it moves fast. But I was just, meh.

Continue reading “Review: Dark Matter”