Reading

Nothing More Dangerous – Allen Eskens | A Book Review

Title: Nothing More Dangerous

Author: Allen Eskens

Genre: Mystery

About the book: It’s a coming of age novel that follows a teenager, Boady Sanden, who wants nothing more than to leave Jessup, Missouri behind. His small town is filled with secrets like the mysterious disappearance of an African-American woman named Lida Poe. Even though Boady has never met her, he realizes Poe’s life is intertwined with those in his community.

I received an advanced review copy from Hachette Book Group in exchange for an honest review.

First impressions: The premise sounded interesting to me. I was also intrigued by the title and cover. It took me a while to get into the story, but I appreciated how Eskens described small details.

Characters: I liked the protagonist and his development. He has flaws but overcomes a lot of obstacles. I wish I got to learn more about some of the secondary characters. That being said, the author creates likeable and relatable individuals who are three dimensional.

Quote:

“But memories aren’t like photographs; they can’t halt the passing of time.”

Writing: The chapters are short, and the novel itself isn’t too long. There’s a little bit of romance in the middle, but I appreciate that it doesn’t take away from the main storyline. Overall, Eskens explores important issues without holding back.

Final thoughts: The ending isn’t hard to predict, and loose ends get tied up.

If you want to read a powerful story that tackles prejudice and privilege, consider checking out Nothing More Dangerous.


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Reading

Amazons, Abolitionists, And Activists – Mikki Kendall And Anna D’Amico | A Book Review

Title: Amazons, Abolitionists, and Activists: A Graphic History of Women’s Fight for Their Rights

Author: Mikki Kendall

Artist: Anna D’Amico

Genre: Non-fiction (History)

About the book: It’s a graphic novel, exploring the history of women’s rights, starting from the past and concluding at the present.

I received an advanced review copy from Penguin Random House in exchange for an honest review.

First impressions: I enjoy reading about history, so I couldn’t wait to delve into this book. I like the alliteration in the title, and it also gives readers an idea of what the book is about.

Content: I love the illustrations. The colours are beautiful and they complement the text. Both the author and artist are extremely talented.

Quote:

“How can we expect righteousness to prevail when there is hardly anyone willing to give himself up individually to a righteous cause?”

Writing: I think there’s a great balance of words and pictures. Learning more about the issues women faced around the world put a lot of things into perspective for me. It’s such an eye-opening, educational read at less than 200 pages.

Final thoughts: I highly recommend Amazons, Abolitionists, and Activists: A Graphic History of Women’s Fight for Their Rights to just about everyone.


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Reading

When You Ask Me Where I’m Going – Jasmin Kaur | A Book Review

Title: When You Ask Me Where I’m Going

Author: Jasmin Kaur

Genre: Poetry

About the book: It’s a novel written in prose and poetry with illustrations.

I received an advanced review copy from HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review.

First impressions: I love poetry, but I don’t read enough of it, so I was excited for this one. I like the title and cover a lot.

Content: There are so many incredible poems. Kaur keeps them short and simple while exploring complex issues like racism, immigration, etc. She is also an illustrator, and her drawings add depth by complementing the text.

The prose section tells the story of a woman dealing with trauma and trying to raise a daughter by herself. I got so invested in the characters that I was sad when the section came to an end.

Quote:

“if the words do not / free you, why do you hold on to them?”

Writing: I love Kaur’s voice and style. She does such a great job of bringing words to life without watering anything down. The poems spoke to me, and I found myself rereading them.

Final thoughts: If you’re a fan of poetry, I highly recommend When You Ask Me Where I’m Going. Even if you aren’t, I still recommend it because the book is a beautiful read.


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Reading

The End And Other Beginnings – Veronica Roth | A Book Review

Title: The End and Other Beginnings: Stories from the Future

Author: Veronica Roth

Genre: Science Fiction (Young Adult)

About the book: It’s a short story collection with black and white artwork throughout that complements the text.

I received an advanced review copy from HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review.

First impressions: The title and cover are cool. I enjoy futuristic stories, so I found the premise interesting.

Characters: Each story follows a different cast of characters. I could relate to the protagonists, and they develop a good deal by the end of their narrative.

Quote:

“I wanted one last chance to tell you that you’re worth so much more than your pain.”

Writing: The stories aren’t too short or too long. Despite the advanced technology, Roth explores human issues like friendship, revenge, as well as love.

Final thoughts: I crave closure as a reader, and I felt the ending tied up loose ends enough to satisfy me. That said, the narratives also leave room for further rumination.

If you’re looking to read a few futuristic stories, check out The End and Other Beginnings: Stories from the Future. It’s not a lengthy collection, so the book makes for a quick, fun read.


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Reading

Fireborne – Rosaria Munda | A Book Review

Title: Fireborne

Author: Rosaria Munda

Genre: Fantasy (Young Adult)

About the book: It’s the first in a series following Lee and Anne, two teens rising in the ranks as dragonriders, despite different backgrounds. Fireborne explores ties to the family you were born into and the family you choose.

I received an advanced review copy from Penguin Random House in exchange for an honest review.

First impressions: I adore both the title and the cover. I was also super intrigued by the novel’s themes.

Characters: The two protagonists grew on me so much. I especially enjoyed seeing Anne’s development into a more confident young woman. Even the secondary characters are unique and likeable.

Quote:

“It is difficult, knowing that your choices are ones whose consequences others suffer.”

Writing: The book alternates between Lee’s and Anne’s point of view with flashbacks to their childhood at the beginning of some chapters. Munda is descriptive, building the world in detail. Overall, I liked the platonic relationships as well as the romantic ones.

Final thoughts: The ending provides some closure while leaving questions to be answered in the second novel. I’m curious to know what happens next. My favourite fantasy novels balance fantastical elements with human issues; this book falls into that category.

I highly recommend Fireborne if you like stories about rivalries and romance.


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Reading

Crier’s War – Nina Varela | A Book Review

Title: Crier’s War

Author: Nina Varela

Genre: Fantasy (Young Adult)

About the book: It’s the first in a series with a female-female, enemies to lovers story. Ayla, a human girl, wants revenge by killing the sovereign’s daughter, Crier, an Automae. But after Alya becomes Crier’s handmaiden, both realize they aren’t that different from each other.

I received an advanced review copy from HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review.

First impressions: I love a good fantasy read, so I was looking forward to this novel. The cover is beautiful.

Characters: I liked Ayla and Crier equally. They have their flaws, but I found them easy to root for. I enjoyed seeing their development alone as well as together. I will never not be a fan of diversity and representation, especially when it’s done well.

Quote:

“But if I give up, then what have I even been living for?”

Writing: The narrative alternates between the two main characters’ points of view. There’s a little romance near the end of the story. Varela is descriptive but not overly so.

Final thoughts: The ending doesn’t wrap up all the loose ends. Instead, it leaves many questions unanswered, setting the stage for the next book.

I highly recommend Crier’s War to fans of fantasy with LGBTQ+ representation.


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Reading

Break In Case Of Emergency – Brian Francis | A Book Review

Title: Break in Case of Emergency

Author: Brian Francis

Genre: Contemporary (Young Adult)

About the book: Toby Goodman’s mom committed suicide and her dad left before she was born. But now her father, a gay, female impersonator, comes home. When Toby’s plans to end her pain goes awry, she has to learn to pick up the pieces of her life and put them back together.

I received an advanced review copy from HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review.

First impressions: I like the title and cover a lot. The premise intrigued me, so I was looking forward to reading it.

Characters: Toby develops a great deal throughout the course of the novel. Many of the characters are flawed in their own ways, which made it easy to relate to them.

Quote:

“It’s only when you lose something that you understand what it meant to you.”

Writing: The author explores topics such as mental health and suicide. In my opinion, Francis handles these issues really well. He doesn’t glamourize or trivialize anything.

The book isn’t too long, and the chapters are short. On one hand, it’s beautifully written; on the other, the story is so sad.

Final thoughts: The ending suits the rest of the story. Honestly, I wish I could’ve read this book when I was in high school.

I highly recommend Break in Case of Emergency if you want to read an emotional but important novel.


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Reading

A Treason Of Thorns – Laura E. Weymouth | A Book Review

Title: A Treason of Thorns

Author: Laura E. Weymouth

Genre: Fantasy (Young Adult)

About the book: It’s a stand-alone novel following Violet Sterling who has been in exile for seven years after her father committed treason. When she returns to her childhood home, Burleigh House, it’s in bad shape. Vi needs to decide what she’s willing to sacrifice in order to save her house.

I received an advanced review copy from HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review.

First impressions: I haven’t read Weymouth’s debut, so I wasn’t too sure what to expect. That said, I love the cover and title. The beginning sets the stage for the rest of the story.

Characters: Violet is an interesting protagonist I could relate to, and she develops a good deal throughout the novel. Wyn is another main character who grew on me.

Quote:

“What if we don’t have to be who we were told to become?”

Writing: Weymouth is descriptive, describing many aspects of the world. The pacing is slower at the beginning and middle but picks up at the end. There’s not too much romance, just a little bit.

Final thoughts: The ending’s my favourite part of the book. Since it’s a standalone, loose ends are tied up.

A Treason of Thorns might not be for everybody, but if you enjoy fantasy with an unusual premise, consider checking it out. The novel is set in England with historical and magical realism elements.


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