Review: The Hate U Give

The Hate U Give

 

I’m going to be honest: I’m not sure how to review this book properly. This book snuck up and sucker punched all of my emotions in the best way possible. How do you do a book like that justice in a review?

Sort synopsis: Starr witnesses her childhood best friend, Khalil,  die in front of her after a police officer shoots and kills him during a traffic stop. Soon after, Khalil’s murder becomes national news as he was black and the police officer was white. Also, Khalil was unarmed. Throughout the entire story, Starr tries to balance her life at a rich and preppy school with the life she lives while in the poor neighborhood her school friends make fun of. Will Starr have the courage to stand up and do what is right, even if it means putting her life and her family’s life in danger?

This was not a story I went into blind. I knew this was inspired by Black Lives Matter but I was not prepared for just how much it would get to me. There were several moments within this story that flat out pissed me off. I was outraged by how certain situations were handled (or not) and/or by how people reacted to events. Let it be known now that Angie Thomas can write. Holy crap can this girl write. She brought me to tears and stirred up emotions that made me want to get out of my chair and do something. Authors like that do not come along often. Sure, I have been moved to tears over how a character died suddenly or by how another character was treated, but the overall premise of this story spoke to me. Books like this need to exist in YA. I believe Angie fills a much needed void. She has done what others may have been scared to do because let’s be honest, this can be a touchy topic. It could either be handled really well or horribly bad. This story? Eye opening and deeply moving, beautiful and breathtaking, full of raw emotion. I’m not sure I’ll ever stop saying good things about this story.

Starr’s character was outstanding. I want to be friends with her in real life. Her sass and attitude made me instantly fall for her. I was immediately on her side. Heck, I wanted to jump into the story and fight right alongside her. The way she constantly fought with herself about how she was two different people: the Starr her school friends saw, and the Starr that the people from her poor neighborhood saw. Those two people can be so very different at times but in the end, can they become one? Can the real Starr shine through?

The one theme I picked up on throughout this entire story is just how important family is. No matter what Starr was going through, her family was right beside her. They never left her, not for one moment. They always took the time to talk to her, ask her how she was doing, to check in on her mental and emotional state to ask if she needed help. Talk about refreshing! It brings a tear to my eye just thinking about it.

I don’t know if it is too early to call it, but this may be the best book of 2017. I want everyone to read this book. Also, if you get a chance, listen to the audio version. Hearing the voices for the characters brings so much more to this story. There are moments that had me in tears I was laughing so hard, while others had me in tears for other reasons. No matter what, read this book. Please, please read this book and share with others. This book needs to be in the world.

 

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Review: City of Saints and Thieves

City of Saints & Thieves

 

Hype… so much hype around this book. I purchased my signed copy at NTTBF recently and  someone walked by while standing in line, stopping to tell me me how good the story was. That’s a heck of a recommendation, wouldn’t you say?

This is the story of Tina, a Congolese refugee, who is simply trying to survive and make sure her sister, Kiki, is safe. Tina is a member of the Coondas, a gang of street thieves in Kenya, Africa. Tina has never forgotten how her mother was murdered and she believes the wealthy Mr. Greyhill was behind it. With the help of the Coondas, Tina sets out to find out exactly what happened to her mother.

I  went into this story blind. Sometimes I feel this is the best way to experience a story and be able to come to my own conclusions. One thing that stood out to me was how much research had to be done to compile this novel. Both the light and dark sides of Kenya were represented, and many other parts of Africa for that matter. It did not paint everything in sunshine and rainbows. It gave the dirty and unpleasant truth about just how bad life can be. Real tales of crime, corruption, and just how harsh women are treated during war. With that being said, this is not for the faint of heart. There are some truly disturbing scenes so be warned.

Everything about this story felt vivid and intense. I was often on the edge of my seat wondering what was going to happen. Would Tina be able to figure out what happened to her mother? Would she be able to stay alive in a ruthless gang of mostly men? Would she be seen the same or treated like another spoil of war? So much tension! This novel felt like a breath of fresh air when it comes to fiction writing. The narrative of Tina herself felt real and believable while being realistically flawed. Her conversations and actions made this story move at a rapid pace, keeping me engrossed for the entire ride.

I’m still not trying to give too much away. This is a heck of a story and highly recommend for those that are looking for a good thriller/mystery with something new thrown into the mix. Please, give this a chance if you have not already. You won’t be disappointed.

 

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Waiting on Wednesday: Defy The Stars

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine in which we share a book that we are eagerly anticipating!

This week’s pre-publication “can’t-wait-to-read” selection is:

 

Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray

Defy the Stars

 

 

From Goodreads:

“Noemi Vidal is a teen soldier from the planet Genesis, once a colony of Earth that’s now at war for its independence. The humans of Genesis have fought Earth’s robotic “mech” armies for decades with no end in sight.

After a surprise attack, Noemi finds herself stranded in space on an abandoned ship where she meets Abel, the most sophisticated mech prototype ever made. One who should be her enemy. But Abel’s programming forces him to obey Noemi as his commander, which means he has to help her save Genesis–even though her plan to win the war will kill him.

Together they embark on a daring voyage through the galaxy. Before long, Noemi begins to realize Abel may be more than a machine, and, for his part, Abel’s devotion to Noemi is no longer just a matter of programming.

I’m not always excited about sci-fi books but this has my attention.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books Read In One Sitting

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Every week they have a different theme for bloggers to post their top tens about, and this week I’m listing…

Top Ten Books Read In One Sitting

 

The Serpent King

The Serpent King

 

 

If You Find Me

If You Find Me

 

 

We Should Hang Out Sometime

We Should Hang Out Sometime: Embarrassingly, a True Story

 

 

By Your Side

By Your Side

 

 

Wires and Nerve

Wires and Nerve, Volume 1 (Wires and Nerves, #1)

 

 

All In Pieces

All in Pieces

 

 

Blood of My Blood

Blood of My Blood (Jasper Dent, #3)

 

 

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - Parts One and Two (Harry Potter, #8)

 

 

Bad Blood

Bad Blood (The Naturals, #4)

 

 

Love & Gelato

Love & Gelato

 

 

 

I listen to a lot of audios so since most of these were fairly short (less than 5 hours on a high playback), then I was able to start & finish within the same day. What about you? Have you finished a book in one sitting or one day?

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Review: Done Dirt Cheap

Done Dirt Cheap

 

I tried so hard to like this book. I mean, I carried it with me to Orlando in the hopes of finishing it wanted to like this book. The fact I struggled so much to finish this one meant it just was not for me.

Short blurb: Tourmaline and Virginia have an unusual friendship and met in an even more unusual way. Together, they team up to beat the odds and get back at the people that are out to hurt them.

That sounds like a pretty rocking story, right? Wrong. This entire story was boring. BORING. I started skimming chapters about 25% of the way through for several reasons:

  • The writing style was choppy and very difficult to follow
  • The dialogue was cheesy
  • The overall plot had such potential but the author just did not deliver
  • Nothing. Happened.
  • The characters were not interesting

The absolute main thing that bothered me was the name of the main character: Tourmaline. Seriously. Who names their child that? I stumbled over that the entire book. For some reason I figured that by now authors knew that unrealistic names for the characters might throw some readers off. If I struggle to pronounce and know nobody would name their child that, I will not be invested in that character. Petty? Probably but I just know what kind of a reader I am. I did not care about the rest of the characters either. I didn’t like Virginia and did not believe they would form such a fast and tight friendship. It did not feel believable to me. They felt like they were trying too hard to be tough and edgy, like they were trying to convince themselves just how badass they were.

The plot was sketchy at best. I, like many others readers, spent most of my time reading and rereading what I just read hoping I had missed something because the holes in the plot were massive. Sadly that was not the case. The author just did not do a good enough job getting the reader from point A to point B. I quickly discovered that I flat out did not care what was going on. Zero cares. None. Goose egg. It probably didn’t help that I just just finished the Thunder Road series so my mind kept circling back to that as a reference for motorcycle gangs and how they should behave in all aspects. I know that is not comparing apples to apples, but it is just what my mind did. And it told me that this particular story was not good. Again, it felt like a teenage girl that was trying too hard to prove how tough and badass she is.

I tried. I really, really tried to like this book but it just was not for me. I am sad that I did not love this and rated it so low (2 stars and that felt generous) but it just was not my cup of tea.

 

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Books Left Unread #68

Wallpaper-Books

Books Left Unread

Welcome to my blog post where I talk about the books I have been meaning to read, but just have not yet. You know what I am talking about – the books that have remained unread for various reasons yet when you see them you think, “You know, I really need to read that.” Instead you get distracted by another book, series, or something in your TBR pile. It happens to the best of us. I want to spotlight those books in the hope that I can persuade myself to move them up on my TBR list.

This week’s post is dedicated to:

What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler

What We Saw

 

I have an ARC of this book sitting on my shelf. I received it from someone because the premise really captured my attention. Apparently it wasn’t enough to make me grab this off of the shelf. It seems to be getting good reviews on GR so maybe I should give it a chance. Have you read it?

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Review: Frostblood (Frostblood Saga #1)

Frostblood (Frostblood Saga, #1)

 

I have become quite picky with fantasy books lately. I usually shy away from high fantasy as I find they are not my favorite genre to read. I either don’t understand what is going on or the story does not grab my attention. I was hesitant to start this because the blurb reminded me too much of Red Queen. After the fiasco that was Glass Sword, I did not want a repeat.

Short recap: Ruby is one of the last Firebloods in the land. She is hidden with monks and trained to use her fireblood power. She is tasked with killing the ruling Frostblood king and taking his throne.

There is nothing overly complicated about this plot. I found the story interesting and very easy to follow. My one complaint though is at times it felt a little more juvenile than I was hoping for. If I was much younger and just discovering YA fantasy or moving my way up from middle grade to YA, this would be the book for me. However, that is not me. I felt like there were various parts of other plots sprinkled throughout this story. Part of it felt like Marie Lu’s The Young Elites, other parts read like Victoria Aveyard’s Red Queen and Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone. I could keep going but you name the YA fantasy book, there’s a good chance part of this story will feel like a section of it. It is a quick and easy read but nothing that really sank its teeth into me. The world building is decent and it does the job but it wasn’t anything that absolutely blew me away.

The same goes for the characters. The story starts with Ruby, hiding her gift of fire, trying to survive by her mother’s side. Everything changes when Ruby’s mother is killed by the king’s army and thus causes Ruby to swear revenge. Nothing new with that storyline. Ruby trains hard to develop her powers because she is constantly told that she is The One that can save everyone. Sound familiar as well? Again, nothing new. The male character, already forgot his name, helps train Ruby all while hiding a dark and powerful secret. Pretty sure you can already guess what that is. These two start a sort of romance but I never felt the chemistry between them. It sort of felt like they were attracted to each other because they were the only ones close to the same age. Plus, they are supposed to be forbidden from being together. Woooooooooooooo. Heard that one before, have you? Stuff like that is throughout this entire story.

Overall, I liked this story enough to be curious about the second book. This just did not feel like anything original or earth shattering that I need to scream from the rooftops how amazing it is. I have a feeling a lot of YA readers will really enjoy this, but don’t go into it expecting something new.

 

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