Source: publisher

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

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.


Book Review: Prayers For The Stolen by Jennifer Clement

Posted March 15, 2015 by Hillary in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

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

ISBN: 9780804138789
Book Review: Prayers For The Stolen by Jennifer ClementPrayers for the Stolen by Jennifer Clement
Published by Crown Publishing Group on February 11th 2014
Genres: Coming of Age, Fiction, Hispanic & Latino, Literary
Pages: 240
Format: ARC
Source: publisher

A haunting story of love and survival that introduces an unforgettable literary heroine Ladydi Garcia Martínez is fierce, funny and smart. She was born into a world where being a girl is a dangerous thing. In the mountains of Guerrero, Mexico, women must fend for themselves, as their men have left to seek opportunities elsewhere. Here in the shadow of the drug war, bodies turn up on the outskirts of the village to be taken back to the earth by scorpions and snakes. School is held sporadically, when a volunteer can be coerced away from the big city for a semester. In Guerrero the drug lords are kings, and mothers disguise their daughters as sons, or when that fails they “make them ugly” – cropping their hair, blackening their teeth- anything to protect them from the rapacious grasp of the cartels. And when the black SUVs roll through town, Ladydi and her friends burrow into holes in their backyards like animals, tucked safely out of sight. While her mother waits in vain for her husband’s return, Ladydi and her friends dream of a future that holds more promise than mere survival, finding humor, solidarity and fun in the face of so much tragedy. When Ladydi is offered work as a nanny for a wealthy family in Acapulco, she seizes the chance, and finds her first taste of love with a young caretaker there. But when a local murder tied to the cartel implicates a friend, Ladydi’s future takes a dark turn. Despite the odds against her, this spirited heroine’s resilience and resolve bring hope to otherwise heartbreaking conditions. An illuminating and affecting portrait of women in rural Mexico, and a stunning exploration of the hidden consequences of an unjust war, PRAYERS FOR THE STOLEN is an unforgettable story of friendship, family, and determination.From the Hardcover edition.

why I read this bookI love heavy issue books. When I read the synopsis to this one I had to read

my review

This is not an easy book to read at times. Ladydi is just a kid in our eyes. A kid that knows way to much about the war. I have heard about the drug wars in Mexico but like most people did not know details of it. This book gives us a in-depth look at what the women actually go through. I had to keep telling myself that this is just a work of fiction. It still made me feel ALLL THE FEELINGS. I wanted to reach out and save Ladydi from her life.

This is like a panting of what life is like in a developing country. In it we see how people live in huts with dirt floors but have all the latest appliances. We see the contrast of life. We see how the government pretends to do something about the drug wars but in reality they are controlled by the drug bosses. We see the grinding poverty of a people trying hard to survive, where beauty is a recipe for disaster.

I couldn’t belive some of the things that I read. Hiding in a hole with scorpions to evade the drug mafia. If the drug mafia catches you, then you will become a sex slave. This story is about Ladydi so we do not see what happens when a girl is “stolen” but rather we get the info that Ladydi gets. At times I was frustrated cause I wanted to know exackly what happened but then again, it would have taken away from the story if it was included.

I was shocked at some of the things that the book talked about. Like when someone disappeared then there was nothing to be done. I felt a sense of injustice and rage and wanted to tell them that their lives mattered.

Many people think that one can just pull themselves out of poverty but reading this book I can see that is not always the case. Sometimes where and when we are born determines what kind of life we will have. This book showed that there is no easy answers when it comes to places like this. It also showed how bad life can be, that people will pay anything to get into the USA.

This book is a hard read, yes but it is also an important one. With people complaining about the influx od refugees this book may explain why people are so desperate to escape. I know some people lack the ability to have empathy for those less fortunate, but it is my hope that this book will bring the issue to light to all those that read it.



Review: The Convert

Posted May 28, 2011 by Hillary in ARC, Book Reviews / 0 Comments

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

The Convert by Deborah Baker
Published by Graywolf Press on May 10th 2011
Genres: Biography & Autobiography, Islamic Studies, Religious, Social Science
Pages: 224
Source: publisher

*A 2011 National Book Award Finalist* A spellbinding story of renunciation, conversion, and radicalism from Pulitzer Prize-finalist biographer Deborah Baker What drives a young woman raised in a postwar New York City suburb to convert to Islam, abandon her country and Jewish faith, and embrace a life of exile in Pakistan? The Convert tells the story of how Margaret Marcus of Larchmont became Maryam Jameelah of Lahore, one of the most trenchant and celebrated voices of Islam’s argument with the West. A cache of Maryam’s letters to her parents in the archives of the New York Public Library sends the acclaimed biographer Deborah Baker on her own odyssey into the labyrinthine heart of twentieth-century Islam. Casting a shadow over these letters is the mysterious figure of Mawlana Abul Ala Mawdudi, both Maryam’s adoptive father and the man who laid the intellectual foundations for militant Islam. As she assembles the pieces of a singularly perplexing life, Baker finds herself captive to questions raised by Maryam’s journey. Is her story just another bleak chapter in a so-called clash of civilizations? Or does it signify something else entirely? And then there’s this: Is the life depicted in Maryam’s letters home and in her books an honest reflection of the one she lived? Like many compelling and true tales, The Convert is stranger than fiction. It is a gripping account of a life lived on the radical edge and a profound meditation on the cultural conflicts that frustrate mutual understanding.

This ithe converts a tale of Margret Marcus a Jewish girl growing up in the shadows of War World Two. While she hears about the horrors going on in Europe, her fascination  is with the Arabs. She gets upset at the formation of Israel and decides to convert to Islam. She has also spent time in mental wards.

Mawlana Abul Ala Mawdudi a man known for his staunch support of political Islam became her guardian when so moved to Pakistan. While in Pakistan Margret Marcus who became Maryam jamaleh upon her conversion to Islam, wrote a number of book supporting militant Islam and condemning the West. She was very influential in some circles in Lahore.

However it was not all smiles and writing in Pakistan. Before she had left the United States she had spent time in a mental hospital with Schizophrenia. She states in her letter that her decision to come to Islam is one of the sanest she has made in her life but one wonders. Then she ends up in a notorious madhouse in Lahore.

One gets the sense of reading this of how much of her thinking is muddled by her mental state and how much she really believes. Then again she was probably freer in Pakistan than she would have been in the US. In Pakistan she was able to marry and have kids and have her sister wife take care of her kids leaving her to write and so what ever else she wanted. while if she had stayed in the US she would probably ended up a ward of the state in a hospital somewhere.

Ever since 9/11 it has been a zero sum game for Islam and the West. If one wins the other loses. It was fascinating to trace back this ideology on the Muslim side to a specific political group and how they in a way took Maryam in and used her to showcase just how degraded the West really was.

Here was a perfect example of how when one followed the west your parents could kick you out, get rid of you or drop you off at the local state hospital while you traveled the world. While in Islam once you had a child you are responsible for it forever. That was the thinking anyway. It seemed it was to their own best advantage to use her to their political ends.

I found this book fascinating. The whole thing seemed unreal. Even the author admits all this was hard to imagine until she went to Lahore. First when she read the letters in New York public Libary it seemed that Maryam had finally found a place she could call home. That it was not rife with the strife that afflicted her with her parents in the US. However when the author went to Lahore she found something unsettling. From her old foster family saying that what she wrote home to her parents is not exactly what transpired in Pakistan. That she was guilty of a multitude of sins. When the author finally reached her for an interview she found a woman who acted complete different than what her letters portrayed. I felt that the author was being a little harsh in her judgment of Maryam. But who am I to say? I wasn’t there. Where the author gets to this point in the book I felt that it starts to fall apart. It as if the author let her emptions color what she wrote and we only get a nuanced version of the “real” Maryam. With sayings such as “I could not wait to leave the room” we are getting the author’s emotions instead of what the story was supposed to be focused on.

The rest of the book is tightly written and a fascinating look at Maryam life as a political Islamist. Pick this book up if you want to know why someone would trade a middle class existence to a Life under a veil in poverty struck Pakistan.