Source: netgalley

Book Review: Mask of Shadows (Mask of Shadows #1) by Linsey Miller

Posted January 9, 2018 by Hillary in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

ISBN: 1492647497
Book Review: Mask of Shadows (Mask of Shadows #1) by Linsey MillerMask of Shadows (Mask of Shadows #1) by Linsey Miller
Published by Sourcebooks Fire on August 29th 2017
Pages: 352
Format: eARC
Source: netgalley, publisher
Goodreads

I Needed to Win.They Needed to Die.

Sallot Leon is a thief, and a good one at that. But gender fluid Sal wants nothing more than to escape the drudgery of life as a highway robber and get closer to the upper-class—and the nobles who destroyed their home.

When Sal steals a flyer for an audition to become a member of The Left Hand—the Queen’s personal assassins, named after the rings she wears—Sal jumps at the chance to infiltrate the court and get revenge.

But the audition is a fight to the death filled with clever circus acrobats, lethal apothecaries, and vicious ex-soldiers. A childhood as a common criminal hardly prepared Sal for the trials. And as Sal succeeds in the competition, and wins the heart of Elise, an intriguing scribe at court, they start to dream of a new life and a different future, but one that Sal can have only if they survive.

I was browsing NetGalley, and I used to well I still do love fantasy, and I am trying to veer away from all the nonfiction that I read last year. I read the thingie about it, and I fell in love with the description, so I requested access and crossed my fingers and sent up some sacred smoke and incense and prayed o the fantasy book Gods that I would get a copy, and I DID!!!

My review is somewhat late because I fell into the worst reading slump of my life last year. I read in one intense spurt then nada for the rest of the year. I finally got my reading Mojo back after the clock struck 2018 and finished off this baby in one day!!

This is a case of not reading reviews until you read the book. I have been on a nonfiction kick, so this was the first fantasy book that I have read in a  looooong while. I liked it. I mean yeah there were some flaws, but it will forever go down as the book to get me out of a six-month reading slump, so of course it is gonna have a high place on the list.

I thought it was a nice story set in a fantasy world that could have used more worldbuilding. Yeah, the worldbuilding was…..lackluster…i have SO MANY QUESTIONS but it is a duology, and I am hoping to the Lady that the authors answer the questions and world builds better in the next book.

Yes. I am gonna read the next book. I know many say they are not but I dunno how you can just abandon a book with that many questions. I mean there is a WAR going on at the end of the book, and I must know WHO WINS…So I am going to keep my eyes peeled on NetGalley, and I fail to get approved for the second book than on my library hold list.

 

While I thought it was a nice little story overall. It is ….lacking in that SOMETHING that makes a story go BOOM right in yo face ya know so for this one just go to the library.

 

review of queens of geeks

Posted May 25, 2017 by Hillary in Book Reviews / 1 Comment

I received this book for free from netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

ISBN: 9781250111395
review of queens of geeksQueens of Geek by Jen Wilde
Published by Feiwel & Friends on March 14th 2017
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Loners & Outcasts, Romance, Contemporary, LGBT, Social Themes, Mental Illness
Pages: 288
Format: eARC
Source: netgalley
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads

Three friends, two love stories, one convention: this fun, feminist love letter to geek culture is all about fandom, friendship, and finding the courage to be yourself.
"Full of irreverent humor and in-jokes, it’s geeky and funny, with a heavy dose of self-discovery. . . . . Seeing girls and women uplifting, protecting, and loving each other is extremely powerful especially in the context of fandom." Teen Vogue
"This is the geeky, queer book of our dreams." —SeventeenCharlie likes to stand out. She’s a vlogger and actress promoting her first movie at SupaCon, and this is her chance to show fans she’s over her public breakup with co-star Reese Ryan. When internet-famous cool-girl actress Alyssa Huntington arrives as a surprise guest, it seems Charlie’s long-time crush on her isn’t as one-sided as she thought.
Taylor likes to blend in. Her brain is wired differently, making her fear change. And there’s one thing in her life she knows will never change: her friendship with her best guy friend Jamie—no matter how much she may secretly want it to. But when she hears about a fan contest for her favorite fandom, she starts to rethink her rules on playing it safe.
Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde, chosen by readers like you for Macmillan's young adult imprint Swoon Reads, is an empowering novel for anyone who has ever felt that fandom is family.
Praise for Queens of Geek:
"Seeing girls and women uplifting, protecting, and loving each other is extremely powerful especially in the context of fandom. The book deals head on with issues of mental health, body shaming, sexuality, and internet celebrity, handling them with a delicate and skillful touch." —Teen Vogue
"This is the geeky, queer book of our dreams. . . . This fluffy, nerdy book is perfect for cosplayers and convention-lovers." —Seventeen"Jen Wilde's book about two best friends—one a bisexual young woman of color, the other a young [autistic] woman . . . dealing with anxiety—will be a favorite of anyone who is a fan of geek culture. . . . This fun book about fierce friendships gives voice to a group of diverse female characters who are so defined by so much more than just their mental health and sexuality." —Bustle
Queens of Geek is an emotional, lively story full of characters that leap off the page and slip their hands into yours, inviting you into a world where the geeks and nerds are royalty and fandom is court. Richly realized and defiantly affirming, Queens of Geek reminds us that adventures and romances aren't limited to archetypes but are, in fact, for all of us.” —Katherine Locke, author of Second Position, moderator of #GayYABookClub
"The characters’ diversity provides natural opportunities to explore a number of contemporary teen issues, including race, sexual orientation, feminism, and body image. Some of the most compelling chapters are told from the point of view of Taylor, who fears change, hates crowds, and is on the autism spectrum. . . . Part of Macmillan’s crowdsourced imprint, this celebration of geek culture and fandom promotes diversity and being true to oneself." —School Library Journal
"Queens of Geek is full of book and movie references and is a fun look at the fandom convention phenomena. Taylor's anxiety and experience with Asperger's are treated with sensitivity. . . . Queens of Geek is a fun, quick read that will appeal to romance readers and self-proclaimed geeks." —VOYA
Praise from the Swoon Reads community:
"[Queens of Geek] was an incredibly compelling read, just because it contained a storyline I ABSORBED, and characters so diverse they were a pleasure to read! . . . Mix that with the romance, self-discovery of self-worth, and all the geeky references, this made for a perfect read! I honestly couldn't put it down, reading late into the night to see what happened next! " —Zoie K, reader on SwoonReads.com
"I love how interesting the story was and how the author addressed the characters' diversity without glossing over it or making it all about that. . . . It reminded me a little of Fangirl." —Lizzie, reader on SwoonReads.com

 

When I first saw this on NetGalley I had no idea that it was gonna be such a huge hit in book blogging circles. All I saw was geek in the title and I was all like

fandoms and other nerdy things.

A girl with anxiety HEY THATS ME!!

 

 

And I was so overjoyed when I got approved for it. Then I forgot about it until I saw it popping up on alllll the book blogs and I looked on my kindle and I was all like I HAVE IT yay! So I started reading and this book..was…so..good. I read it all in one sitting.

 

Those of you who know me know that I suffer from anxiety. It can be debilitating at times and it is so infuriating when an author trivializes that actual disorder.  I have read a book where they make it seem if I just set my mind to it then I can overcome the attacks and that is just not true. Trust me no one WANTSan anxiety disorder. It is annoying and it can keep you from being truly happy

 

it is like you WANT to do things, like in the book she wanted to enter the fan contest to meet the author of her favorite book but her anxiety was so high that the very thought of it freaked her out. I can so relate to that, I mean sometimes I can’t even get up the gumption to leave my apartment. Like her, I also have to prepare for stuff. Like if a friend calls me up wanting to go out THAT VERY MINUTE well it ain’t happening.  Have to have at least 24 hours to mentally prepare me.

 

I loved all of the geeky stuff in it too. I am a big geek. Although my fandoms seem less cool than the people in the book. Like I am obsessed with Zombies. Anything Zombie and I want it. I even have the Zombie Couch to 5K thingie on my phone so I can pretend to be running for an actual reason than to mindless go nowhere on the treadmill. I could so relate to the comic thingie too I have only recently gotten into the whole Comic Scene but I love it. I used to even play games but I had to quit that or I would never get out of the apartment. Hours and hours I used to spend in the land of World of Warcraft.

 

I loved the diversity in this book. It is hard to find the book this well was written that has believable diversity in it. These were not just walking diagnoses but rather people that happened to HAVE anxiety and be on the autistic spectrum. They had a bi person in the book and it was so refreshing not to have the person be all like what is wrong with me but rather view it as a natural and normal part of who she was. I loved that.

 

This is going onto one of my top ten reads this year for sure. In fact, so far this is my favorite read this year. I hope the author writes more soon!

 

Book Review: Sweetness #9 by Stephan Eirik Clark

Posted February 10, 2015 by Hillary in Book Reviews / 1 Comment

I received this book for free from netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

ISBN: 9780316278751
Book Review: Sweetness #9 by Stephan Eirik ClarkSweetness #9 by Stephan Eirik Clark
Published by Little, Brown on August 19th 2014
Genres: Dystopian, Family Life, Fiction, Humorous, Literary, Satire
Pages: 352
Source: netgalley
Goodreads
five-stars

Fast Food Nation meets The Corrections in the brilliant literary debut T.C. Boyle calls "funny and moving."

David Leveraux is an Apprentice Flavor Chemist at one of the world's leading flavor production houses. While testing Sweetness #9, he notices that the artificial sweetener causes unsettling side-effects in laboratory rats and monkeys. But with his career and family at risk, David keeps his suspicions to himself.

Years later, Sweetness #9 is America's most popular sweetener--and David's family is changing. His wife is gaining weight, his daughter is depressed, and his son has stopped using verbs. Is Sweetness #9 to blame, along with David's failure to stop it? Or are these just symptoms of the American condition?

An exciting literary debut, SWEETNESS #9 is a darkly comic, wildly imaginative investigation of whether what we eat makes us who we are.

why I read this book

 

I was browsing on NetGalley and saw this book and loved the blurb so I requested it and was approved for it.

my review

 

I have to admit that the timing of this book is excellent. It seems the whole world is wanting grass-fed meat and is warning about the dangers of sweeteners. This book is a satire on this topic.

It starts out with two people working in an animal lab testing sweetness #9. David who is charge of the rats notices that they seem to be depressed and suicidal and stuff. He is fired after he points this out. He gets a job somewhere else and life goes on until his boss becomes sick and through a very twisting plot the truth about the sweetener comes out.

I know that the above does not seem like a lot but I don’t want to spoil the book for anyone who has not read it. The plot twist keeps on coming. You think you know where the book is going but then PLOT TWIST!. The end of the book where the whole truth comes out will leave you with your jaw on the floor.

This is a fictional work but while reading I kept thinking what if this is REAL? The world created in this book is just like our own expect for this sweetener. And to think that today we use sweetener in almost everything. Most of us don’t give a second thought to the potential effects of sweeteners so it would be easy to imagine the scenarios in this book happening.

I loved David in this book. I could really relate to him. He is a fully fleshed out character and I found myself rooting for him. I think a lot of people can relate to him trying to do the right thing even when there so much gray area. Sometimes in life it is not clear what the right thing is and this book reflects that.

I also loved that the book portrayed the marriage and the raising kids in a more realistic light. So often in books we get the sanitized version of life. This book shows all the gritty side and the messes that can come up.

The plot of the book required no suspending reality. Like I said what happens in this book is so close to our own world that one can IMAGINE the events taking place. This is the kind of book that I like best.

loved-it

five-stars

Detour from Normal

Posted February 2, 2015 by Hillary in book review / 0 Comments

ISBN: 9781491248638
This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
Detour from NormalDetour from Normal by Ken Dickson
Published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform on December 12th 2013
Genres: Biography & Autobiography, Personal Memoirs
Pages: 372
Format: eARC
Source: netgalley
Goodreads
three-stars

Before April 14, 2011, Ken Dickson lived a life indistinguishable from those of other residents of his Phoenix suburb. The normally healthy fifty-five year-old held a regular job, and lived with his loving wife, two teenage daughters, and an assortment of pets. On that mid-April day, though, the course of his life forever changes when he learns he must undergo surgery to remove a damaged portion of his lower intestine.The life-saving surgery and associated medications become catalysts for an unbelievable chain of events that cause the formerly mild-mannered man to spiral into the chaotic mental illness known as mania. Dickson is then subjected to a whirlwind of trips to emergency rooms, hospitals and ultimately, psychiatric facilities where he finds himself deep in an inescapable abyss of mental illness.Part medical mystery, and part psychological thriller, Dickson's creative nonfiction memoir, Detour from Normal, demonstrates how even the most seemingly normal life can implode in an instant. It is a riveting account of undying love and brutal anguish, of lies and arrogance, and of unforgettable characters and desperate actions.In an age when there is utmost concern about the quality of mental health care, the timing couldn't be better for this informative and inspirational memoir. Told from the real-life perspective of someone with mental illness, readers will observe first-hand the adverse reactions to medications, misdiagnoses, improper treatment, and other factors that work together to send Dickson spiraling into a seemingly inescapable hell.Despite overwhelming obstacles, Dickson struggles bravely to reclaim the life he has lost. His journey proves to be a perilous one of unexpected discovery, and from its foretelling opening pages to its unpredictable climax, it never ceases to be fascinating, enlightening and thought provoking.

why I read this book

I have experienced mania from Bipolar and I am always curious when some one else experiences something like mania or depression.

my review

First of all I have to be honest and admit that the writing was not the best in this book. However I was curious about how he handled his mania episode so I ignored that and read on.

He first details the illness that had preceded the mania episode then details his decent into mania. Aside form not sleeping I have to say we had two very different experiences. I liked reading about how describes his decent into mania. At first I was sure that he had undiagnosed bipolar and almost every book I have read by someone with bipolar the prose sings. It is like a cursed gift. You get words from the angels but you pay a dark price for it and this…well it was mostly choppy and disjointed.

I felt kinda bad that it seemed that no Dr were really able to help him. In hindsight I can see why. He had no history of mental illness and no family history so it probably never even entered their minds. I have to be honest, I kept waiting for the diagnoses of bipolar to come and I was more than a little irked when he refused to take his medication. I wanted to reach through my kindle and shake him and tell him, honestly the sooner you take it the sooner your nightmare will be over. So yes I had my jugdey glasses on.

At the end when he has recovered from the ordeal I was shocked to find out the real cause of his mania. I have never heard of this cause even though I have read memoirs like this since 2007.

The story was good but like I said the writing was choppy and disjointed. It made it hard to read at times. Other than that it is an interesting memoir.

it-was-ok

three-stars

The Rise of the Thing Down Below

Posted December 3, 2014 by Hillary in book review / 0 Comments

I received this book for free from netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

ISBN: 9781626392076
The Rise of the Thing Down BelowRise of the Thing Down Below by Daniel W. Kelly
Published by Bold Strokes Books on 2014-10-13
Pages: 264
Format: eARC
Source: netgalley
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
five-stars

The boys and bears of Comfort Cove are counting the days until the opening of the sexually charged boardwalk attraction SandMen Strip. But before the naked fun in the sun can begin, the mutilated bodies of a few burly dockworkers wash up on the sand. Suspicion falls on the cute young owners of SandMen Strip, but local paranormal investigator Deck Waxer has to look at all the possibilities, including new faces in town. There's the cocky two-and-a-half foot tall artist named Little Larry Long. The city's mayor is hiding some unnaturally large life form in his mansion. And even trusted religious leader Father Merrin has been keeping a troubled young psychic a secret from the public. As the body count rises, the angry and scared dockworkers target Deck's crew of sex-loving friends, unaware of the real terror that has surfaced in Comfort Cove: a grotesque evolutionary mutation from deep down below.

My Review 2

Sometimes you just need a good book to take you away and forget about the cruel hard world. I admit I requested this book from NetGalley because I like books that have a supernatural element to them. I had no idea that this book was a campy, horror gay sex book. I mean I was reading and I was all like

wtf

I even asked my gay friend if some of the sex scenes were real or did the author have an over active imagination. My friend told me they were real. OOOKKK. WOW.

Aside from learning a lot about gay sex I really enjoyed the plot of this book. The world building was excellent and it reminded me in a good way of the campy horror stuff you would find in the 70’s. The plot was really believable. The Rise of the Thing Down below was written in such a way that you did not have to make giant leaps with the plot to fall into the story like you do with some books. When I read this I was wanting to get lost in another world and forget about reality for a few hours. This book accomplished this and more.

I also really enjoyed the supernatural elements to the story. It was really creative and believable and I even had a fun, good time with it. You know how some books with supernatural elements leave you with the feeling of having to remind yourself that this is just part of the authors imagination and wont REALLY happen…You hope. Well this book is such that even if it REALLY DID HAPPEN you could deal and you wont be turning it over and over in your head hoping that God does not have such an active imagination.

The characters were all fully formed with emotions and actions that real people would have. I could relate to the characters (well not the gay part as I am straight) but like when one dude finds puppies and gets all happy I could feel the excitement along with him.

The ending felt kinda flat. I would have liked more info on the “Thing” but other wise I felt like the story wrapped up pretty well.

This book is part of a series which I did not know about before I started reading. There are events that are related to events in earlier books so I would recommend reading them in order. I did not feel totally lost but I did feel that I would have gained more from the story had I read the earlier books.

liked-it

five-stars

The World Split Open

Posted November 25, 2014 by Hillary in book review / 0 Comments

The World Split OpenThe World Split Open by Margaret AtwoodWallace Earle StegnerEdward P. JonesUrsula K. Le GuinMarilynne Robinson
Published by Tin House Books on 2014-11-11
Genres: Essays, Literary Collections
Pages: 272
Format: eARC
Source: netgalley
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
five-stars

Since 1984, Literary Arts has welcomed many of the world’s most renowned authors and storytellers to its stage for one of the country’s largest lectures series. Sold-out crowds congregate at Portland’s Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall to hear these writers’ discuss their work and their thoughts on the trajectory of contemporary literature and culture. In celebration of Literary Arts’ 30-year anniversary, A Literary Arts Readers collects highlights from the series in a single volume. Whether it’s Wallace Stegner exploring how we use fiction to make sense of life or Ursula K. Le Guin on where ideas come from, Margaret Atwood on the need for complex female characters or Robert Stone on morality and truth in literature, Edward P. Jones on the role of imagination in historical novels or Marilynne Robinson on the nature of beauty, these essays illuminate not just the world of letters but the world at large.

My Review:

I have always been fascinated with writers and their writing process. When I read a story I often wonder what went through the writers minds while they were composing. As readers we often glean what we think the writers meant. Are they making a political statement? What hidden meanings are underlying the words that are on the page?

The World Split Open is a book of essays by different writers. In this book they talk about the writing process and how they get their ideas among many other things. This book had some of my favorite writers in it and I was super excited to get a “look behind the scenes” so to speak. One writer who I was sure wrote her book to make a political statement said that she was surprised when people took her book that way. That she was just making up a story based on events that fascinated her. I was somewhat taken aback by this but it makes sense. Writers  dont always set out to make any kind of statement but rather to make sense of things in their world.

There are many authors represented here covering a multitude of topics ranging from feminism to handling criticism and such. I found a lot of useful information in this book. We don’t often see authors as humans with feelings but this book brings to life the whole picture of authors.

 

 

 

five-stars

Whiskey Tango FoxTrot

Posted November 8, 2014 by Hillary in Uncategorized / 0 Comments

ISBN: 9780316252638
Whiskey Tango FoxTrotWhiskey Tango Foxtrot by David Shafer
Published by Little, Brown on 2014-08-05
Genres: Espionage, Fiction, General, Humorous, Mashups, Political, Satire, Thrillers
Pages: 432
Format: eARC
Source: netgalley
Goodreads
five-stars

Three young adults grapple with the usual thirty-something problems--boredom, authenticity, an omnipotent online oligarchy--in David Shafer's darkly comic debut novel.The Committee, an international cabal of industrialists and media barons, is on the verge of privatizing all information. Dear Diary, an idealistic online Underground, stands in the way of that takeover, using radical politics, classic spycraft, and technology that makes Big Data look like dial-up. Into this secret battle stumbles an unlikely trio: Leila Majnoun, a disillusioned non-profit worker; Leo Crane, an unhinged trustafarian; and Mark Deveraux, a phony self-betterment guru who works for the Committee.Leo and Mark were best friends in college, but early adulthood has set them on diverging paths. Growing increasingly disdainful of Mark's platitudes, Leo publishes a withering takedown of his ideas online. But the Committee is reading--and erasing--Leo's words. On the other side of the world, Leila's discoveries about the Committee's far-reaching ambitions threaten to ruin those who are closest to her. In the spirit of William Gibson and Chuck Palahniuk,Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is both a suspenseful global thriller and an emotionally truthful novel about the struggle to change the world in- and outside your head.

My Review:

I LOVED this book. Well until I got to the end and it just ended with no real resolution. I thought maybe it is a series! I checked GoodReads and no it was an ending in the same way as David Foster Wallace. I am not smart enough to make heads or tails of authors such as David Foster Wallace. I had an English Professor attempt to explain postmodernism in college and I told the dude straight up. This stuff is bullshit, why would you write a story and not finish it? Can I write my final halfway and still get an A? Ok I UNDERSTAND it I guess, I just don’t like it. BUT I did like this book even though it ends right in a climatic scene. I mean seriously it ends so suddenly that I thought NetGalley had fucked up THEN I checked Goodreads. OK then.

That was the only thing that I did not like. It starts out as three different stories and you wonder how it will all tie in together. Now that I think of it there were a couple of stories that had no resolution but again the plot that does happen makes up for it.

It is a mash-up of several genres. I thought it was brilliantly done. It does require at some points to ignore some  laws of time and space but nothing like enlarging your brain, right? In another way it was spooky. I mean what if it REALLY happened? What if some dude was out there saving all your data then tried to sell it back to you? It looks like the author did know either as that’s where the story ends. Ok can you tell that this ending is bugging me?

I will still give it 5 stars for plot and dialogue and creativity. And guts. Extra points for guts. I mean it had to take guts not to finish the story and still publish it. Postmodernism be damned.

Am I the only one who hates books with no real ending?


liked-it

five-stars

Book Review: He Texted

Posted November 6, 2014 by Hillary in Uncategorized / 0 Comments

My Review

I have to be honest. I requested this book because I heard that It was in the same vein as He’s Just Not That Into You. At 21 I thought it was a great book. However I think at 34 I am a completely different person. I wanted to like this book but I have out grown stuff like this. It was entertaining to say the least but at 34 I am not the kind of person to wonder what he meant by this or this or blah blah blah. HOWEVER if I was still 21 I would have given this book 5 stars.

I really think that this book depends on where you are at in your life stage. If you are a teenager or in your 20’s go for it but for people who don’t wonder what a text means or why that hot guy wont friend you on Facebook then skip this book.

one-star