Reviews

Marvelous Storytelling- The Name of the Wind

Overall Enjoyment: 4.5/5

Characterization: 5/5

Worldbuilding: 5/5

Diversity: 1/5

Goodreads summary:

MY NAME IS KVOTHE
You may have heard of me. 
I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep. 

So begins a tale unequaled in fantasy literature–the story of a hero told in his own voice. It is a tale of sorrow, a tale of survival, a tale of one man’s search for meaning in his universe, and how that search, and the indomitable will that drove it, gave birth to a legend.”

Review

I read this book because one of my friends has been bugging me to read it for a long time now. He even let me borrow his copy. The summary sounded interesting, but I was pretty ambivalent. It’s the usual European-inspired fantasy world that has been classically done. But, I gave it a shot and while there is really no diversity to speak of in my opinion the worldbuilding; especially, the magic system was so good that I thought I’d share this book with you all anyway.

Characters are relatively few in this book when it comes to the ones we hear about more than once and I really appreciated it. Kvothe is fully developed with his whole back story playing out for us to read so that we really get to know who this man is and why. The other characters while not anywhere near as closely explored still manage to seem unique with their own personalities and habits. Truly enjoyed them!

The worldbuilding while maybe nothing new in the sense that it is Euro-centric is very detailed. There is a magic system that is created and describe that I’ve never read something similar to before. The lore of this world is truly beautifully done. I’m a sucker for well-written lore and world history.

Diversity is basically nonexistent in this book which is pretty disappointing. There may have been some brief mentions/alluding to gay men and perhaps some characters of color, but you’re following around a white, red haired man for the book.

Overall, if you’re looking for some diverse fantasy this is not the book for you. It’s Euro-centric and follows a white man. If you don’t mind that on occasion though I would say this is definitely a fantasy book you would enjoy!


Have you read this book? Have you heard of it? What do you think?

Reviews

Everything I Hoped It’d Be- Once and Future by Amy Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy

Overall Enjoyment: 5/5

Characterization: 4/5

World building: 4/5

Diversity: 5/5

Goodreads Summary:

“I’ve been chased my whole life. As a fugitive refugee in the territory controlled by the tyrannical Mercer corporation, I’ve always had to hide who I am. Until I found Excalibur.

Now I’m done hiding.

My name is Ari Helix. I have a magic sword, a cranky wizard, and a revolution to start.

When Ari crash-lands on Old Earth and pulls a magic sword from its ancient resting place, she is revealed to be the newest reincarnation of King Arthur. Then she meets Merlin, who has aged backward over the centuries into a teenager, and together they must break the curse that keeps Arthur coming back. Their quest? Defeat the cruel, oppressive government and bring peace and equality to all humankind.

No pressure. “

Review

First off, I’ve been waiting for this book since I first heard about it. I’m not really a SyFy fan, but this was a retelling that I just couldn’t ignore. I haven’t read a ton of King Arthur stories recently, but I remember a bit about them from when I had to read them in school. This book has so many elements that I enjoyed.

First, let talk about the characters. There’s Ari who is an action first, think later kind of girl. She’s an orphan refugee that was taken in my two women and has grown up under the radar. She’s a fighter with the quest of returning to her planet and freeing her people. She’s skeptical and brash and I really enjoyed it. Now, there can of course be no Arthur without a Merlin. I’m going to be honest and say that Merlin is probably my favorite character. He’s just as much as a main character as Ari in this story. What really drew me in was his past though and his memory and relationship with all the past Arthur-s. It hurts to read sometimes, but I think it just added such a great, new element to the typical Arthurian legend that I was completely taken with him. Honestly, I’m taken with all of the characters. They’re so diverse and each of them has at least a little bit of backstory and history all that are new, but also tied to past King Arthur stories. Loved it.

The world of this story is set far in the future and it takes an interesting look on what could happen to not only our world, but our whole universe if we let our love of capitalism go too far. Corporations especially Mercer are out of control in this novel and it shows through how the planets are designed, built, and controlled. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it dystopian, but if you’re worried about the power of consumerism it could maybe feel that way.

The diversity in this book flourishes all over its pages and it didn’t feel like fan service! These characters got enough love and attention that they all seemed well entrenched and important to the story. Most of our characters are characters of color as well as lgbtq+. We even have a character that I really enjoy that is nonbinary. I love these characters.

Overall, I loved this book. As I mentioned, I was really pulled in by the summary and I wasn’t disappointed.


Have you read this book? What did you think? Is it on your TBR?

Let's Talk Bookish

Let’s Talk Bookish: Should readers read books that aren’t for their target age?

Welcome to my Let’s Talk Bookish post. Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, created and hosted by Rukky @eternitybooks, where we discuss chosen topics, share our opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts. Normally, this is posted on Friday, but nanowrimo is kinda kicking my butt so I’m a bit late.

This week’s post topic is: should readers read books that aren’t for their target age?

Well, considering a lot of my books reviews are on YA fantasy and I’m an adult so I’m going to say absolutely. We are all drawn to the books that appeal and speak to us. Harry Potter is still so popular because readers of all ages reader the books. I don’t think it’s fair to say that only one age group can read any book. Some young people are more mature and can read adult books, some adults prefer YA books. Reading is suppose to generally be an enjoyable experience. I think the only time it isn’t is when you are forced to read something you don’t want to.

Being mindful of your voice when reading outside the target community

I think the real problem with reading outside your target age is when you try to take too much ownership of that space. Everyone has a right to an opinion and can review how they’d like, but as an adult reviewing YA books my voice should not try and speak of the voices of young adults who are reading these books. The books were written with them in mind. It is not my job to try and police them or try to argue with what they’re saying. I can disagree, but it shouldn’t be my voice that is the loudest. This is really true for when reading any book that belongs to a community that isn’t yours. You have your right to your review and your feelings, but your voice should not be speaking over those from within that community. You could love a book and it’s harmful to that community, you could hate a book and that community could be in love with it. Let that community speak for it. Your job is to be in the supporting role of raising those voices if that’s what you’d like. Please stay in your lane.


What do you think? Should you read outside of your target age range? What are your thoughts on reviewing books outside of your community? I’d love to hear what you think!

Fun Stuff

November IndigAThon- Celebrate Native Heritage Month with a read-a-thon focused on Indigenous Voices.

Readers, I’m so excited! I was browsing twitter and I can across this awesome read-a-thon for November. It is hosted by Brody and Michelle, both indigenous people who have booktube channels. I’ve been meaning to look into more stories by indigenous voices and this is great motivation to really get started! Please support indigenous voices! Below is the bingo sheet as well as the books I’ve chosen for this read-a-thon.

You can find Brody’s explaination of IndigAThon here.

You can find Michelle’s explaination of IndigAThon here.

There is also an IndigAThon twitter page that you can follow so that you can find some cool recommendations and chat with some people. You can find that here.

MY TBR for this read-a-thon

SF/F: Trail Of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse . I own this book, but haven’t gotten around to reading it yet. Guess I will now! 🙂

The group read: THE BREAK by Katherena Vermette

Nonfiction: Me Sexy by Drew Hayden Taylor

South American: Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia . I’m already read it, but it counts right? It’s SOOO good!

Intersectionality: Johny Appleseed by Joshua Whitehead

Romance: Hearts Unbroken by Cynthia Leitich Smith

On Rez: Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko. I read this in high school in my honors English class years ago. It was really interesting read and one of the first books I read by an indigenous author

Historical fiction: Code Talker by Joseph Bruchac

Movie Night: Empire of Dirt starring Cara Gee

Paranormal: Son of a Trickster by Eden Robinson. Every time I read the summary of this book I get excited to read it. Right up my alley.


So, those are my choices for this read-a-thon. You might notice that if you look at the bingo sheet currently with how I’m looking at in I can’t get a bingo (though I get close), but that’s okay with me. I really just want to expand my reading and introduce myself to #ownvoices indigenous stories. As I said, I am so ridiculously excited about this and I hope you join everyone and myself in this great idea!

Book Haul

My Fall Book Haul

Hello lovely readers, my book haul for this fall is relatively small. I haven’t had a ton of time to read recently and so I have a small collection of books that I’ve purchased not to mention I still have tons of unread books on my self. It may look larger, because I forgot to put the books I got from marginsbox in my summer book haul. I wanted to make sure to share them with you though so here they are too! There are a few nonfiction books this haul. I always try to encourage myself to read at least a couple nonfiction books a year to continue to learn and think critically about topics. Enjoy!

My Physical Books

Fiction

Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell. I read the first Simon Snow book and while it was pretty good I am curious on the what comes after. I’ve never really read a book that explores the aftermath of what happens to a hero who has lost his power so I’m interested on where this will go.

Kingdom of Soul by Rena Barron. I love magic books, but a lot of them have gotten old and just honestly feel like Harry Potter spin-offs, but from what I’ve read of this book so far I’m really enjoying it. It has already introduced rich tribal nations and a character who is struggling with her lack of magic. I’m still reading it, but I’ve enjoyed the new spin on magic and world building so far!

Crier’s War by Nina Varela. I’m going to be honest I’m kinda scared to read this book. I’ve heard so much hype about it that I’m a little worried my expectations are going to be too high, but androids taking over with an enemies to lovers story line. I’m so intrigued!

Wicked Fox by Kat Cho. I received this is my third Marginsbox. I have mixed feelings about it based on the summary, but haven’t yet had a chance to read it. I do like the concept of tricky fox women though so I have hope.

With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo. I haven’t read this book either yet though I’ve heard so many excellent things about it.

Somewhere Only We Know by Maurene Goo. This is the second book I got in my Marginsbox. I’m gonna be honest and say that I would probably never have picked this book myself. I’m not a huge fan of flat out romance myself, but it could be interesting.

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow. There’s something nostalgic in the summary of this book that just calls to me. It’s also supposed to be a fantasy novel so I’m excited

Nonfiction

Knowledge, Difference, and Power: Essays Inspired by Women’s Way of Knowing. I picked this book up because another educator was speaking about it as an interesting take on ethics and morality and I wanted to give it a shot to see what it’s all about. Found it at my local bookstore.

The Pharaoh’s Treasure: The Origin of Paper and the Rise of Western Civilization by John Gaudet. I found this book at a Ren Faire I went to and it sparked my interest. Ancient Egypt has always been interesting and I’d like to know more about the origin of paper. Not really interested in the rise of western civilization bit, but we’ll see.

Whose Story is This? Old Conflicts, New Chapters by Rebecca Solnit. A book about who controls the narrative of our stories and how that power is starting to slowly change hands. I’m so interested and excited to read this!


What does your fall book haul look like? Do we have any of the same books? Do you have any good recommendations?

Uncategorized

My Heart Hurts- Girls of Storm and Shadow

Overall Enjoyment: 3/5

Characterization: 3/5

World building: 4/5

Diversity: 4/5

Goodreads Summary:

“In this mesmerizing sequel to the New York Times bestselling Girls of Paper and Fire, Lei and Wren have escaped their oppressive lives in the Hidden Palace, but soon learn that freedom comes with a terrible cost.

Lei, the naive country girl who became a royal courtesan, is now known as the Moonchosen, the commoner who managed to do what no one else could. But slaying the cruel Demon King wasn’t the end of the plan—it’s just the beginning. Now Lei and her warrior love Wren must travel the kingdom to gain support from the far-flung rebel clans. The journey is made even more treacherous thanks to a heavy bounty on Lei’s head, as well as insidious doubts that threaten to tear Lei and Wren apart from within.

Meanwhile, an evil plot to eliminate the rebel uprising is taking shape, fueled by dark magic and vengeance. Will Lei succeed in her quest to overthrow the monarchy and protect her love for Wren, or will she fall victim to the sinister magic that seeks to destroy her? “

Review

I received this ARC for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Okay, I have so many mixed feelings!!!! So MANY!!!!! First, I was extremely honored and excited to receive this ARC. I really enjoy Natasha Ngan’s writing style and Girls of Paper and Fire was the first sapphic book that I actually felt a connection to which really gave this series a special place in my heart. However, reading this book was really tough for me. The first half was great, but as the book went along I increasingly struggled.

Lets talk characters. I will say that we are introduced to many new ones and I enjoyed the ones that I would consider the mains though as usual I wished we had more about them. I love my character development. You’ll see Merrin, the owl demon who rescued Lei and Wren at the end of Girls of Paper and Fire. You get leopard demon siblings, and a shaman as well, I will say that I think Lei is the most consistent and enjoyable character in this book. She does what needs to be done, but has the heart that make you fall in love with her. Wren though. This book was so hard for me mostly because of her. I don’t want to give away spoilers, but lets just say we learn a lot about her in this book and it was hard for me to swallow. We get some morally gray characters going on here which normally I honestly love, but I just felt angry honestly. I felt angry for the last half of this book and I wasn’t compelled by these characters’ arguments.

The world building was good. We get to explore more of the world that had been built with the first book. You get to see more of the country which is enjoyable in its geographical difference and you will notice that there are different cultures sprinkled throughout the book though they weren’t super developed I did enjoy them.

As for diversity this book does well. We get to meet a couple more lgbtq+ characters as well as Lei and Wren both being women of color as well as lesbians. There are also characters who are experiencing mental health disorders. A story with some good intersectionality.

Overall, I’m frustrated. I loved Lei and Wren, but this book was a tough read for me and left me on a note that was frustrating and dissatisfying. I believe there will be a 3rd book and I will read it just to see where this goes, but honestly I really considered just not reading anymore past this point. I’m writing this write after I finished the book so I’m definitely on an emotional high, but heck this book hurt.

Let's Talk Bookish

Let’s Talk Bookish: Are TBRs need to be a book blogger/reader?

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, created and hosted by Rukky @ Eternity Books, where we discuss certain topics, share our opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts. Posts are written on Friday’s.

This Friday’s discussion the question is do you need to have a TBR to be considered a book blogger/reader?

First, for those of you who might be confused. TBR is an acronym meaning To Be Read. Many readers have lists of books that they really want to read, but haven’t yet had the time. Hence, the creation of TBR list.

Secondly, the very simple answer. No, absolutely not. You don’t need a TBR to be a book blogger/reader. Your book blog is whatever you make it and if you don’t have a TBR and aren’t worried about it then its not a big deal. Most book bloggers want smaller TBRs so if you don’t have one then you’re already ahead of the game.

Why it might feel like you need a TBR

So, this question really threw me for a loop if I’m honest. I feel like my answer is the obvious answer, but as I continued to think about it I can see how someone could really wonder about it. The book blogging community talks A TON about TBRs. It’s a uniting force within our community, because most of us have them. There are even reading challenges based specifically on getting your TBR list under control. I can see if you’re someone with no TBR to speak of that it might seem like you’re missing something. However, outside of bonding over the length of your TBR or similar conversation you’re not missing anything. You are still a very valid reader and blogger TBR or no.

If I don’t need one why are they a big deal?

  1. Community. As I mentioned before the book blogging community really seems to bond over TBRs. It’s nice sometimes to know you’re not the only one obsessing over book or have a large stack of unread books on your shelf especially if you have friends that aren’t big readers.
  2. They help people remember the books they want to read. As a book lover I want to read SO MANY BOOKS. I don’t have time or money to purchase all the books that I’ve seen that I think I would enjoy, but a part of my bookish heart dies at the thought of forgetting about a book that I was once so excited to read. That is why I have a TBR via Goodreads.
  3. People enjoy lists. There’s nothing more satisfying then making a list or setting a goal then getting to cross off a line of it as often as you can. While a small fraction of the reason I have a TBR it is nice to get that feeling of success not only from having read a good book, but also being one step closer to reaching your goal of books you’d like to read.

So, in short if you have a TBR that’s cool, but also if you don’t that’s also cool. You are still a reader and a book blogger if you don’t have TBR. I applaud your restraint at not hoarding books like a possessive dragon.


So, what do you think? Do you feel like you need to have a TBR to be a valid member of the book community? Do you have a TBR? I look forward to hearing your thoughts.