Review: Queenie

Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams

Genres: Fiction, Chick-Lit?
Maturity Level: 5
View on Goodreads
Rating: ⋆⋆⋆

Queenie Jenkins is a 25-year-old Jamaican British woman living in London, straddling two cultures and slotting neatly into neither. She works at a national newspaper, where she’s constantly forced to compare herself to her white middle class peers. After a messy break up from her long-term white boyfriend, Queenie seeks comfort in all the wrong places…including several hazardous men who do a good job of occupying brain space and a bad job of affirming self-worth.

As Queenie careens from one questionable decision to another, she finds herself wondering, “What are you doing? Why are you doing it? Who do you want to be?”—all of the questions today’s woman must face in a world trying to answer them for her.


HO-LY SMOKES, what a book!

The writing, especially the characterization, is just incredible. Queenie is so readable that I finished it in nearly one day, but still has so much depth. Everyone feels like a real person you could actually meet, each with their own personality and complexity. Even the dialog was written in such a way that you could tell who was who because everyone had such a unique voice. And Carty-Williams is so successful at making you feel what Queenie feels.

Continue reading “Review: Queenie”

Review: We Ride Upon Sticks

We Ride Upon Sticks by Quan Barry

Genres: Fiction, Historical Fiction
Maturity Level: 4
View on Goodreads
Rating: ⋆⋆⋆⋆

From the author of the widely acclaimed She Weeps Each Time You’re Born comes a new novel, at once comic and moving. Set in the coastal town of Danvers, Massachusetts (which in 1692 was Salem Village, site of the origins of the Salem Witch Trials), it follows the Danvers High field hockey team as they discover that the dark impulses of their Salem forebears may be the key to a winning season.

In this tour de female force, the 1989 Danvers Falcons are on an unaccountable winning streak. In chapters dense with ’80s iconography–from Heathers to Big Hair–Quan Barry expertly weaves together the individual and collective journeys of this enchanted team as they storm their way to the state championship. Helmed by good-girl captain Abby Putnam (a descendant of the infamous Salem accuser Ann Putnam) and her co-captain Jen Fiorenza, whose bleached blond “Claw” sees and knows all, the DHS Falcons prove to be as wily and original as their North of Boston ancestors, flaunting society’s stale notions of femininity in order to find their glorious true selves through the crucible of team sport.


Apparently putting a speculative slant is the way to get me to read literary fiction. Add in a nice healthy sense of humor and teens overly into their extra-curricular activities and I am all in. I really enjoyed this quirky, smart book.

Continue reading “Review: We Ride Upon Sticks”

Discussion: Fiction vs. Non-Fiction

There are two kinds of readers (she says the sweeping generalization well aware that less than a week ago she said there were four). People who like fiction, and people who like non-fiction. Okay, three, because there are also people who like both. BUT! In my experience most readers tend to prefer one over the other.

Fiction has the benefit of being escapist. It also offers a lot more potential variety, with the endless possibilities of fantasy and science fiction. Fiction tends to be more emotionally charged, and first-person narration can allow you to really feel that you know the character intimately. Fiction can also be written more accessibly and page-turnery, though that is not always the case.

Non-fiction, on the other hand, has the benefit of being real. Sometimes reality is more bizarre than fiction could ever be. (Tiger King, anyone?) Often the reader of non-fiction feels like they are learning something, which might be felt as self-improvement. Non-fiction is deceptively varied, ranging from history, to science, to food, to fashion, to memoirs. And while the writing style is often more aloof and less emotional, I often find that the events portrayed really stay with me longer, possibly because they are grounded in reality.

Now, I’m not here to say one is better. I truly don’t think that is the case. I believe it is entirely a matter of preference. What do you like to read?

Continue reading “Discussion: Fiction vs. Non-Fiction”

The Levels of Genre-Snobbery

Since becoming a book blogger it has been impossible for me to ignore the concept of genre-snobbery. It is everywhere. People (including me!) are always talking about it, blogging about it, yada yada yada.

But what is genre-snobbery, really? How does one know if they are a genre snob?

You have come to the right place for questions! Through a series of extremely scientific studies (a.k.a I sat around and thought about it for approximately five minutes) I have determined that everyone fits into one of four levels of genre snobbery. While there may be some variations out there (people who are cool with fantasy but hate on Dan Brown), I think you’ll find that this holds near UNIVERSAL truth.

I have spoken.

Level 1: Non-snob

“I’ll read anything.”

The Non-Snob is much like myself prior to book blogging and exists in a happy bubble where they don’t know even know genre-snobbery is a thing. While they may have preferred genres and genres they don’t read, it’s purely a preference thing. Likewise, they throw judgement on nobody for their reading habits. The Non-Snob is open to new reading experiences and is always ready to try something different.

Continue reading “The Levels of Genre-Snobbery”

Review: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

Genre: Fiction
Maturity Level: 5
View on Goodreads
Rating:

Christopher John Francis Boone knows all the countries of the world and their capitals and every prime number up to 7,057. He relates well to animals but has no understanding of human emotions. He cannot stand to be touched. And he detests the color yellow.

Although gifted with a superbly logical brain, for fifteen-year-old Christopher everyday interactions and admonishments have little meaning. He lives on patterns, rules, and a diagram kept in his pocket. Then one day, a neighbor’s dog, Wellington, is killed and his carefully constructive universe is threatened. Christopher sets out to solve the murder in the style of his favourite (logical) detective, Sherlock Holmes. What follows makes for a novel that is funny, poignant and fascinating in its portrayal of a person whose curse and blessing are a mind that perceives the world entirely literally.


What an outstanding book! Truly this is an exercise in seeing the world from the eyes of someone so different from yourself. It’s hard to believe with today’s push for neurodiversity in literature that this book was written over fifteen years ago. It is so ahead of its time, and just absolutely brilliant.

Continue reading “Review: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time”

To Literary Fiction, or Not to Literary Fiction?

Ah, it’s that time of year. All the award lists are coming out, and the talk is flowing about books that I … haven’t even heard of. Or, if I have heard of them, I made no effort to read them. The Women’s Prize, the National Book Award, the Booker the Pulitzer … those aren’t books I read. Because I don’t really read literary fiction. Ever.

But, like, I kind of want to?

When I have a good experience with literary fiction, it’s always an amazing experience. Y’all, there’s a reason people love these books so much that they give them awards. High quality literary fiction is so good. I used to read books like that, a long time ago, but lately … I don’t know. I just don’t like them as much.

I talked in a post a few weeks ago comparing literary fiction to genre fiction about how literary fiction tends to be so bleak a pessimistic. It’s not like I expect the book to be hilarious, or as swoony as a YA book. I just don’t want the overall theme of the book to be that life is depressing. So often the literary fiction I’ve read has such a dark outlook on the world. And that’s not how I see the world, nor is it how I want to see the world.

Continue reading “To Literary Fiction, or Not to Literary Fiction?”

Review: A Very Large Expanse of Sea

A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi

Genre: Young Adult
Maturity Level: 5
View on Goodreads
Rating: ⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆

It’s 2002, a year after 9/11. It’s an extremely turbulent time politically, but especially so for someone like Shirin, a sixteen-year-old Muslim girl who’s tired of being stereotyped.

Shirin is never surprised by how horrible people can be. She’s tired of the rude stares, the degrading comments—even the physical violence—she endures as a result of her race, her religion, and the hijab she wears every day. So she’s built up protective walls and refuses to let anyone close enough to hurt her. Instead, she drowns her frustrations in music and spends her afternoons break-dancing with her brother.

But then she meets Ocean James. He’s the first person in forever who really seems to want to get to know Shirin. It terrifies her—they seem to come from two irreconcilable worlds—and Shirin has had her guard up for so long that she’s not sure she’ll ever be able to let it down.


A Very Large Expanse of Sea was everything I was expecting it to be, and then so much more. It was like The Hate U Give meets Eleanor & Park. I felt all of the feels, but I also had to walk in the shoes of someone completely different than me. I swooned, and I also examined my own privilege. This book was everything, and everyone in America should read it.

Continue reading “Review: A Very Large Expanse of Sea”

Audiobook Review: Sadie

Sadie by Coutrney Summers

Narrated by Dan Bittner, Fred Berman, Gabra Zackman, & Rebecca Soler
Genres: Young Adult, Suspense
Maturity Level: 5 (Content Warning, Sexual Abuse)
View on Goodreads
Rating: ⋆⋆⋆

Sadie hasn’t had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she’s been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water.

But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie’s entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister’s killer to justice and hits the road following a few meager clues to find him.

When West McCray―a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America―overhears Sadie’s story at a local gas station, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie’s journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it’s too late.


This is a truly outstanding, difficult, and important book for teens. However, I didn’t connect with it as much as many other people did, in part due to the writing, and in part due to the narration.

Continue reading “Audiobook Review: Sadie”

Review: After the Fire

After the Fire by Will Hill

Genres: Young Adult, Thriller
Maturity Level: 4
View on Goodreads
Rating:
⋆⋆⋆

Before, she lived inside the fence. Before, she was never allowed to leave the property, never allowed to talk to Outsiders, never allowed to speak her mind. Because Father John controlled everything—and Father John liked rules. Disobeying Father John came with terrible consequences.

But there are lies behind Father John’s words. Outside, there are different truths.

Then came the fire. 


If you’re into psychological thrillers and young adult novels, After the Fire definitely does the job. It was fun, moderately exciting, and mysterious enough. But it wasn’t as well executed as the best of the genre.

Continue reading “Review: After the Fire”

Review: The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra

The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra by Vaseem Khan

Series: Baby Ganesh Agency Investigation
Genre: Mystery
Maturity Level: 4

View on Goodreads
Rating: ⋆⋆⋆⋆

On the day he retires, Inspector Ashwin Chopra inherits two unexpected mysteries.

The first is the case of a drowned boy, whose suspicious death no one seems to want solved. And the second is a baby elephant. As his search for clues takes him across the teeming city of Mumbai, from its grand high rises to its sprawling slums and deep into its murky underworld, Chopra begins to suspect that there may be a great deal more to both his last case and his new ward than he thought. And he soon learns that when the going gets tough, a determined elephant may be exactly what an honest man needs…


Well this book was adorable. If you like cozy mysteries you have to give this one a read. It’s a nice blend of the grumpy retired man you come to expect from this type of novel with the exoticism of modern Mumbai.

Continue reading “Review: The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra”