Thursday, December 11, 2014

Ick! Yuck! Eew! Our Gross American History

Ick! Yuck! Eew!: Our Gross American HistoryIck! Yuck! Eew!: Our Gross American History by Lois Miner Huey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Do you ever reminisce about the good old days? Ever wish you lived back then because it seems romantic and easier than today?
Do you wonder why bathrooms are still sometimes called powder rooms?

It's not because women "powder their noses" with cosmetics in them. It's because in the days when people wore wigs they had a separate room where they literally powdered their wigs white and the powder got everywhere. It was a messy, yucky process and the wigs often had lice in them. These are the kinds of fun tidbits you learn reading this book.

On page 20 they talk about flies being so plentiful and bothersome that people had to put out fly strips. But the dead ones would pile up and have to be swept up at least 4 times daily in the summer!

This reminded me of the 2 or 3 awful summers here in central Texas when weather made it good hatching conditions for insects and yucky black crickets were everywhere! They piled up like crazy outside of HEBs (our local grocery) because they were drawn by the parking lot lights. Their smell (yes they have a smell O_O) was disgusting, and so was trying to simply get to your car or inside the store without getting the nasty creatures hopping on you lol. So gross!
Ick! Yuck! Eew!

This is EXACTLY the kind of book I wanted to read as a kid. And as an adult, I thoroughly approve of the book making history relevant, more accurate, and not as sanitized as a Disney film. This should be required reading for kids in schools:)

This book was a library copy.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

In Real Life by Cory Doctorow

In Real LifeIn Real Life by Cory Doctorow
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I actually intended to post this review a looooooong time ago because I loved it so much and basically read it all in one sitting! That's huge for me because I rarely do that lol.

But time got away from me and I started the review but never finished writing it out, so now I'm rectifying that. I was actually reminded by the goodreads vote for best graphic novel of the year, and when I didn't see "In Real Life" there I wrote it in as my vote! Hope yall will consider doing the same:)

As for my thoughts on the book:
I first picked it based entirely on the cover alone. It's a beautifully done dichotomy of a girl. One side shows her "IRL" and the other is her gamer self, her avatar. I didn't know that when I first saw the cover, I was just attracted to the artwork and the interesting look of both girls in juxtaposition to one another. But I'm not a gamer, not even a little bit, so I'm sure other readers will have a better clue what the cover is showing.

It's the best feeling in the world when I go into a book cold, not knowing a thing about it and the story turns into something so enjoyable. Happily, that's my experience with In Real Life. It's actually a very quick read and the story flows easily through the dialogue text and illustrations. Never was I lost or confused, even though I went into it not knowing anything about the premise or even about gaming. So if I'm using any of the terminology incorrectly I apologize. Cory has an introduction that explains the concept though, and in it he explains how In Real Life is about games and economics, globalization and technology, and how it affects us all.

Thank You to First Second for the review copy via NetGalley.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Say "I love you". 好きっていいなよ。

Just saw an anime based on the manga Say "I love you". ( 好きっていいなよ。) and it was so sweet! I loved the relationship that develops between Mei and Yamato,  as well as the friendships and new connections with their classmates. 

I didn't much care for the English dubbing so I watched them in the original Japanese with subtitles instead. The opening song is beautiful!

The story is about a very shy girl named Mei that has given up on friendships because she was blamed and rejected by peers years ago. Still wanting to avoid bullying, Mei is now in high school and avoiding socialization. But Yamato, the most popular boy in school, notices her and finds her interesting and refreshing in her honesty and quirkiness. Ultimately, it's a cute romance and about learning to risk some hurts in order to find connection, love, and acceptance.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Star Child by Claire A. Nivola

Star ChildStar Child by Claire A. Nivola
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the cutest little picture book about life and how we come to earth that I've ever read. Religious stuff typically turns me off with all of its strictures and confines but lately spirituality in general has been of interest to me. Especially the idea of why we're here and how one might find a purpose or useful means of service to this planet.

This book simply answers those questions with a story of one little boy, referred to as Star Child. Star Child is a boy that was in the sky, far away from earth where he existed as a "flame of vapor". But he was mesmerized by earth and all it's brightness and strangeness. He yearned for a visit and to do so he had to be born as a human. Elders warned him that doing so would mean not just joy but also disappointment, not just pleasure but also fear, and not just wonder but also sadness. And in the midst of these confusions and delights he'd forget where he came from and probably become attached to earth but still have to leave eventually. Learning all this Star Child still chose to come, and when asked if he was glad to do so he answers "Yes."

Love the simplicity and wonder of it all.

                                                 This book was a personal copy.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Outlander (Outlander, #1)Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book has been on my to-read list a long time but what finally made me read it was a quick n crazy review by Taystee (to Poussey in the prison library) on OITNB! lol

Earlier this month I was marathoning Season 2 and then in the last episode this happened:
...And I'm like:
Hey! I have that book, still on my to-read list though...
Hmm…heard it's good but can't recall why I put it down?...
Ugh that's right, I'm not into time travel novels...
Jajajajaja! I gotta try reading this book again...
SOLD! thanks for the kick ass rec Taystee lol
Wtf?! jajajaja! Oh man, that's hilarious; I'm not big on "gingers"
either but I'm dying to give this book another shot now

And THAT is how Netflix and OITNB convinced me to try reading Outlander, stat. Now, I'm in love with a red haired highlander named Jamie, and can't get the story outta my head! I'm addicted to the series now and have already started book 2 and intend to consume the series back to back all this month. Well, maybe summer since they're really long books lol. But it's perfect timing because in August the Starz channel is premiering their new Outlander tv show and I'm just too damn excited about it all! lol

Here's the poster:

So if you're into historical fiction, romance, adventure sagas, or hot Scots in kilts then this is a MUST read. Be warned though, this is NOT a genre romance novel. It's much more like historical fiction with a passionate romance in it, elements of magic and fantasy, and intense gritty action and drama. This reads much more like Game of Thrones than it does romcom. But it's soooo worth it; promise.

This book was a personal copy.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg

Better off FriendsBetter off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Such a sweet contemporary YA story! I loved the dynamic between the two best friend characters, Macallan and Levi. And honestly, when I read all the descriptions of this being like a "When Harry Met Sally" but in a teen cast and environment I wasn't sure it would work; mostly because those are big shoes to fill (that film is a classic!) and also because the humor is so important to that type of story working that I knew I'd be disappointed if it was lacking it.

When I started reading this I also wasn't sure what exactly the title was suggesting...does better off friends really mean the story will pan out and show that platonic co-ed friendships not only can happen but also work better than if those two people had dated? Or does it mean the title is playful and this couple of friends were really best friends and then more? Because it could go either way and I'd have been happy because this book was written so well, with humor and emotion that feel real and worth it all either way too.

So I won't spoil that outcome, just read it and enjoy the funny and tender moments that only best friendships can bring you. Especially those "oldest best friend" relationships that spring up magically in school days and last as magical footholds throughout our adult lives. Definitely read Better Off Friends if you're in the mood for something sweet and fun:)

Thank You to Scholastic for the review copy via NetGalley.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Forever (Temptation #3) by Karen Ann Hopkins

Forever (Temptation, #3)Forever by Karen Ann Hopkins
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It's taken me a bit of time to write up my thoughts on this one. Mostly because I was reading a ton of other books at the same time and I needed space to ruminate on all of them. But I also wasn't completely sure how I felt about the ending. I won't give anything away but the cliffhanger from book 2 was a good one. I just couldn't decide what I personally wanted to happen lol. On one hand I was with her dad in terms of figuring things out, but then I'd be completely with Rose's thinking too. After all I loved her and Noah's sweet romance and couldn't bear to lose that emotional investment. I wanted my happy ending dammit! lol

The series is about an Amish guy and "Englisher" girl that fall in love, and then their two worlds collide. It's romantic and dramatic and totally sucks you in. And I am happy to report that readers do get a happy ending. It's just after some crazy and rough tragedy. Also, I really hope the author picks up the storyline of Rose's brothers later on. Both Sam and her little brother have some very good set-ups for spinoffs of their own.

Thank You to Harlequin Teen for the review copy via NetGalley.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

FangirlFangirl by Rainbow Rowell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


I don't typically fall head over heels for a contemporary YA but I'm learning that Rainbow Rowell is apparently the exceptional writer that gets me every time. And that's an awesome feeling! I love having that kind of magical chemistry with an author/book:D

Cath and her twin sister have grown up loving and writing fanfic about Simon Snow, a beloved character from a beloved and insanely popular childhood book series. This series is basically a nod to Harry Potter of course. But as Cath and her sister Wren embark on college things change. Wren doesn't want to room together, take classes together, even cowrite their fanfic anymore! This combined with Cath's anxiety and introverted nature are just about more than she can bear.

But as she struggles to survive freshman year at college without the security of Wren constantly by her side, Cath experiences the beauty and pain of growing into herself. And Rainbow does it in such a beautiful way that I can't even....
Seriously, just read her books y'all! You won't be disappointed:)
This book was a personal copy.

Rainbow Rowell signs two-book deal with First Second -- EXCLUSIVE

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Secret (Elemental #4) by Brigid Kemmerer

Secret (Elemental, #4)Secret by Brigid Kemmerer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Secret released yesterday!!

I can not even begin to explain how much I loved this one. I mean, I've loved the series from the beginning but Secret has me even more excited and happy than I know how to express.

First, it's Nick's book which is great because I love the twins. I thought Gabriel's book was going to be my fave but Nick and his unassuming good nature have swayed me lol!

Second, I've read gay characters in YA before but I've always felt they were either done too "safe" or too stereotypical instead of real. I wasn't sure how it was gonna go with this series but based on the stellar writing and dialogues of characters so far I knew it would at least be ok. Well, it turns out it's even better than good!

And last but not least, I enjoyed seeing the friendship between Nick and Quinn. I was surprised to see my opinion of her change once I got to see the real her, and once I got to understand where she's coming from.

Overall I appreciated the realistic nature of the characters' reactions, including Nick's. It's refreshing to finally see an LGBTQ character in a YA book that is written as evenly and thoughtful as the straight characters. After all, it is a paranormal YA book too, so Nick's issues weren't solely focused on his sexuality. Like most people in the real world that was just one facet of who he is.

Thank You to Kensington Books for the review copy via NetGalley.

Into the Still Blue (Under the Never Sky #3) by Veronica Rossi

Into the Still Blue (Under the Never Sky, #3)Into the Still Blue by Veronica Rossi
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The final book in the Under the Never Sky series released yesterday!
Loved this series from the start, and I love the characters and the strange world they live in. It's all so bewildering at first, with aether and Scires, Auds, and Seers.
I love a good romance, and Perry and Aria make a good love story. I couldn't get enough of Perry. He's such an interesting and lovely book boyfriend.
Plus there were sweet little surprises in this final book that made all the violence and tragedy the characters endured seem worth it. I especially enjoyed Aria's friendship with Roar too. It seemed so fitting that they'd both be Auds and have a bond like brother and sister, these two Auds who love Perry.
Can't wait to share this series with all the people I know that love series but won't read them till they're all published lol. Also saw that it's been optioned for film; really hope it gets done, and done well. It's a perfect story for film adaptation with all its adventure and scifi type elements.

Thank You to Edelweiss for advance e-copy!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Archangel's Legion by Nalini Singh (Guild Hunters #6)

Archangel's Legion (Guild Hunter, #6)Archangel's Legion by Nalini Singh
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There's just something about Nalini Singh's romances that gets to my heart. I love her affectionate heroes in her Psy/Changling series but it's her Guild Hunters and Angels that fascinate me most. I love the dark themes and her crazy angels that are not human, and questionable at best in their connection to "heaven". It's a favorite series for me, and I loved reading the story through Elena and Raphael's perspective in the first two books. I hadn't expected there to be main character changes after that. When it happened it didn't work for me as well, especially Jason's story which I found a tad boring.

So I was thrilled to be back with Elena and Raphael as chief characters in this one, and I loved how their relationship grew. Seeing Elena challenge Raphael and actually fight to get him to see her as a full equal in their relationship as well as in the angel world was interesting. I liked seeing how it was a real struggle for them as a couple. It's almost never shown in paranormal romances for the "true love" couple to struggle as they navigate their relationship. It made for nice subplot.

I also liked seeing the personality of Aodhan develop and learning of his connection to Illium, the blue winged angel that is hands-down my favorite:)
Illium's story is still a ways off, I've heard, but I can't wait to read his book lol. And speaking of previous relationships, I loved the consistency between Elena and Dmitri, who don't exactly dislike each other but they ain't bosom buddies neither, hahahaha!! That shit cracked me up.

Final Word: Archangel's Legion is a winner :D 

This book was a library copy.