Review: American Gods

American Gods by Neil Gaiman

30165203Genre: Fantasy
Maturity Level: 5
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Rating: ⋆⋆⋆

Days before his release from prison, Shadow’s wife, Laura, dies in a mysterious car crash. Numbly, he makes his way back home. On the plane, he encounters the enigmatic Mr Wednesday, who claims to be a refugee from a distant war, a former god and the king of America.

Together they embark on a profoundly strange journey across the heart of the USA, whilst all around them a storm of preternatural and epic proportions threatens to break.

I am really struggling to come up with a rating for this book because I’m not really sure whether I liked it or not. Maybe the process of writing this review will help me figure it out. Continue reading “Review: American Gods”

Ranking the Fiction Genres

Everyone has favorite and least favorite genres. It’s part of life. My dad, for example, reads almost nothing except for Science Fiction. My husband, on the other hand, is hard to get interested in much other than fantasy. Many book bloggers prefer young adult novels the best. I find this super fascinating. SO!

Today I will be ranking the fiction genres!

This is my personal preference, so don’t you dare get offended if I don’t like something you do. I do what I want.

giphy Continue reading “Ranking the Fiction Genres”

What to Read When You’re In-Between

I was listening to old episodes of Dear Hank and John this week. Dear Hank and John is the podcast that John Green and Hank Green do together where they give dubious advice to people. One of their letters in this particular week asked, basically, “I’m going to college and feel like I am outgrowing YA books, but I’m not interested in ‘adult’ books because all the people in them have kids and are getting divorced and stuff. What should I read?”

Hank and his guest-host, Jill, were well equipped to answer this question, in my opinion, but settled on very vague and, well, dubious advice. So I wanted to get out there and give some REAL advice on this one!

What to read when you’re not a teenager anymore, but don’t really feel like an adult yet:

Young Adult

I feel like a lot of college-aged people think they shouldn’t be reading YA because they’re “too old” or because they’re “not real books”. I know I felt this way when I was in college! But the truth is that there’s not such thing as too old for YA! As Stephen Colbert once said, “a young adult novel is a regular novel that people actually read”. Continue reading “What to Read When You’re In-Between”

Review: Shadow and Bone

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

10194157Series: Grisha Trilogy
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Maturity Level: 4
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Rating: ⋆⋆⋆⋆

Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.

You guys, I had so many mixed feelings about this book.

On the one hand, Bardugo created a one-of-a-kind Russian-inspired fantasy universe. I loved the setting, the language, the magic (science?), and the terrible Unsea. And sand skiffs, kind of a sleigh/ship hybrid, YES. On the other hand, it was the same old plot we’ve read in every other young adult fantasy. Girl is chosen, girl gets taken away for long training sequence, girl becomes the mightiest of all, girl has epic showdown. There were so many cliches and so many tropes. Ugh.

Continue reading “Review: Shadow and Bone”

Books Don’t Have to be Perfect

Let’s talk about Gone With the Wind for a minute, shall we?


Before you run away screaming and start accusing me or other people of stuff, I think this is a really important conversation to have. Because, yeah, Gone With the Wind presents a really problematic view of black people. It does. But it’s also one of the most popular books in history, allegedly the second most popular book in America after the Bible. It won the Pulitzer Prize for literature in 1939. And the film adaptation also remains one of the most popular movies of all time.

Now, I know that frankly some of you don’t give a damn. The race problem is a problem. Period. But surely the people who love this book can’t all be racists, bigots, and hypocrites. Right? Continue reading “Books Don’t Have to be Perfect”

Review: The Nightingale

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

21853621Genre: Historical Fiction
Maturity Level: 5
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Rating: ⋆⋆⋆⋆

In the quiet village of Carriveau, Vianne Mauriac says goodbye to her husband, Antoine, as he heads for the Front. She doesn’t believe that the Nazis will invade France…but invade they do, in droves of marching soldiers, in caravans of trucks and tanks, in planes that fill the skies and drop bombs upon the innocent. When France is overrun, Vianne is forced to take an enemy into her house, and suddenly her every move is watched; her life and her child’s life is at constant risk. Without food or money or hope, as danger escalates around her, she must make one terrible choice after another. 

Vianne’s sister, Isabelle, is a rebellious eighteen-year-old girl, searching for purpose with all the reckless passion of youth. While thousands of Parisians march into the unknown terrors of war, she meets the compelling and mysterious Gäetan, a partisan who believes the French can fight the Nazis from within France, and she falls in love as only the young can…completely. When he betrays her, Isabelle races headlong into danger and joins the Resistance, never looking back or giving a thought to the real–and deadly–consequences.

Well. I have so many mixed feelings about this book. I’m not quite sure where to start, or what order to go in…

Hmm. I guess I’ll start with the bit I’m not really knowledgeable to comment on: the historical accuracy. I don’t really know much about France in WWII. I heard some reviewers saying there were some very accurate details, and others saying it was inconsistent and that there were a lot of inaccurate details. All I know was that I felt like I was learning a lot about Occupied France, and it felt accurate. Continue reading “Review: The Nightingale”

Cross-Genre Books

Crossovers are like, my favorite thing EVER.

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Books, movie, TV, doesn’t matter. I especially like when characters from one story end up in another. Van Helsing, for example, has to be one of my all-time favorite monster movies. And if the Supernatural people gave Angel a cameo I would just flip my chips. (Okay, that’s not a thing. I made it up. Get over it.)

In the last year I’ve discovered that this love extends to cross-genre books. I really enjoy when a book can’t be just put squarely a box. If I’m going to have trouble figuring out where I’m going to put it in my bookshelf, I’m probably going to be grinning the whole time I’m reading. Continue reading “Cross-Genre Books”

Review: Bring Up the Bodies

Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel

13507212 (1)Series: Thomas Cromwell Trilogy
Genres: Historical Fiction
Maturity Level: 4
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Rating: ⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆

Though he battled for seven years to marry her, Henry is disenchanted with Anne Boleyn. She has failed to give him a son and her sharp intelligence and audacious will alienate his old friends and the noble families of England. When the discarded Katherine dies in exile from the court, Anne stands starkly exposed, the focus of gossip and malice.

At a word from Henry, Thomas Cromwell is ready to bring her down. Over three terrifying weeks, Anne is ensnared in a web of conspiracy, while the demure Jane Seymour stands waiting her turn for the poisoned wedding ring. But Anne and her powerful family will not yield without a ferocious struggle. Hilary Mantel’s Bring Up the Bodies follows the dramatic trial of the queen and her suitors for adultery and treason. To defeat the Boleyns, Cromwell must ally with his natural enemies, the papist aristocracy. What price will he pay for Anne’s head?

It’s not often I enjoy a sequel more than the original. But Bring Up the Bodies was so outstanding that I couldn’t put it down.

Continue reading “Review: Bring Up the Bodies”

Review: The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin

6437061Series: Inheritance Trilogy
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction
Maturity Level: 5
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Rating: ⋆⋆

Yeine Darr is an outcast from the barbarian north. But when her mother dies under mysterious circumstances, she is summoned to the majestic city of Sky. There, to her shock, Yeine is named an heiress to the king. But the throne of the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is not easily won, and Yeine is thrust into a vicious power struggle.

I didn’t really care for The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, but I think most of the things I didn’t like were personal preference, rather than a problem with the book.

Continue reading “Review: The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms”

Must-Haves for a 5-Star Book

It’s a rare thing, that 5-Star book. They only come around a couple of times a year, if we’re lucky. I know I’ve had years where I didn’t read any. So what makes those books so special? Is it a certain je ne sais quoi, or can you define it?

For me, personally, it’s a little of both. My favorite books, for the most part, have very little in common with each other. They’re from a variety of genres in different styles. A lot of times if you asked me what made them so special I would be at a loss for words. They just … are. But there are definitely some characteristics that a book must have in order for me to love it that much.

Note that this is my list, not a universal one.


Outstanding Writing

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I’m discovering that I’m a bit of a literature snob. High-quality writing is important to me. That’s not to say I can’t enjoy a book with flaws, but if I’m in any way distracted by the writing style I probably won’t give it 5 stars. Continue reading “Must-Haves for a 5-Star Book”