Book Reviews

Call Me by Your Name by André Aciman – Book Review

Call-Me-By-Your-Name-Cover

“We had the stars, you and I. And this is given once only.”

I went into this book with a vague idea of what was to come. I knew almost nothing about it, aside from the lovely trailer. I made it a personal challenge to read the book in two days in order to see the movie on time. Knowing me, this was a nearly impossible task, but thanks to the unique style of the book, I was instantly pulled into the story.

When I say unique, I’m not simply referring to the prose, though that was part of it. But overall, I mean the story was unique, and so were the characters’ actions. I’ve read many romance books in the past, a lot of them about LGBTQ+ characters, but this felt different.

Call Me by Your Name is a coming-of-age story about a 17 year old American-Italian boy named Elio. He becomes infatuated with his parents’ summer guest in Italy, Oliver, who is a 24 year old graduate student. This is a story about desire, in all shapes and forms. It’s a story of exploration, discovery, and emotions.

I liked the way the difficult topics were dealt with. Despite the age gap between the main characters, the power dynamic was never really a problem. Elio was mature for his age, and he knew exactly what he wanted, and what he was doing. I appreciated the way Oliver treated him, like his equal rather than someone almost a decade younger.

My favorite thing about the book was the ending. I say this in the most honest way. That ending was worth getting to. It nearly brought me to tears, but it felt so real, raw, and beautiful. The nostalgia was palpable. I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

I wanted to write this review before watching the movie, so I don’t mix things up. I’m very excited to see the lazy summer scenes portrayed on screen. This story, the characters, and their romance, was worth the read.

3,5 stars

Advertisements
Book Reviews, Categories, Uncategorized

The Pirate’s Wish by Cassandra Rose Clark

15714476

He strung up strands of tree vines and red berry leaves and muttered his charms while I sulked in the corner and watched him. Just cause I was in love with him didn’t mean I wasn’t gonna resent him for locking me away like I was useless, or that I wanted to spend every moment of the day hanging around him.

I didn’t plan on jumping right into the sequel of The Assassin’s Curse but I couldn’t focus on anything else after finishing it. So I picked it up, and ended up finishing it even faster than the first one. I loved this book. I gave it five stars.

At the end of the first book, Ananna and Naji have been stranded on an island, but with the knowledge of how to end the curse. This book is all about curing it, falling in love, friendship, mysterious magic, more pirating, and more fighting. There’s a lot of angst, but such good angst I couldn’t get enough.

I didn’t mention it in the first one because while Marjani was important, she didn’t have as big a role as she did in this one. But she is a woman of color who is in love with another woman of color. And yes it’s on the page, and also, yes, it is happy and well done.

Speaking of Marjani, she has definitely become one of my favorite side characters. Along with the Manticore. Characters continue to drive this book, and I still stand by if you don’t like the main character Ananna then you won’t like this duology much. You might even dislike this book less than the first. It’s not the case for me though. She does a lot of actions through hurt and anger I don’t agree with, and that could have been addressed, but I still love her.

I think this is a great end to this small series. I found out that Clarke has a spin off series that is set in this world, but doesn’t include these characters. I think I might check that out, and even her other books if she has them. She has a nice writing style, and I think she might be one of my favorite authors.

5 stars

Personal, Uncategorized

Spotlight: Ruru Reads

ani_snoopyreadingR

Hello, everyone! This is Isis. I just wanted to let you guys know about this really great online magazine called Ruru Reads. It’s dedicated to publish works of fiction, poetry, and and nonfiction by Indigenous people and people of color. They already have a lot of works on the website, including one of my fiction short stories, Summer Soundtrack. You should all check it out and give it some love. If you want to submit to them, here is the link to their submissions page.

It’s so cool to see a magazine dedicate to raising the voices of marginalized groups of people. I hope you support this growing website. Thank you!

-Isis

Book Reviews

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne – Book Review

hate

“I have a theory. Hating someone feels disturbingly similar to being in love with them.”

This was a pleasure to read. Although I don’t read a lot of romance, I was immediately intrigued by the premise of this book. This sounded like the perfect, lighthearted enemies-to-lovers cliche story ever, and I needed to read it. I’m so happy I did.

The Hating Game follows two characters who hate each other, Lucy and Josh. They’re also both assistants to the two CEO’s of a publisher. They basically run the business. What I found most endearing about them was their little games they played every day to tease each other. They found so many ways to argue with each other, but their underlying tension was obvious. See what I mean about cliches? I love them.

I was instantly hooked by Lucy. As a narrator, she was a bit unreliable when it came to Josh, but I really loved her. She was sweet and kind, and I couldn’t help but agree with everyone else who called her adorable. I also almost instantly loved Josh. He was so grumpy and feisty, always ready with a sassy comment, but that made him interesting. Most of all, I loved how obsessed these two were with each other.

As far as the romance goes, I thought it was well paced. At times, I struggled with the repetitiveness of it, but overall, I was satisfied with how everything played out. There was some drama, but it never got to be too much. I always appreciate minimal drama in romance.

There were so many great moments that made me smile or laugh. I can tell that this will be one of those books that when I see it at a bookstore, I’ll smile with the memories it left me. I would love to re-read it someday. And I’ll definitely be reading anything else Sally Thorne writes.

4 stars

Book Reviews, Categories, Uncategorized

The Assassin’s Curse by Cassandra Rose Clark

13533650

“You can’t escape an assassin,” He leaned forward, shadows swallowing his eyes. “Hangings, bumbling bureaucrats, dishonest crewman, jail – those you can talk your way out of, you try hard enough. But this kind of death is the is the only kind of death.” 

The Assassin’s Curse by Cassandra Rose Clark is the first in young adult fantasy duology. Ananna is the daughter of a pirate captain, one of the most respected families on the Pirate Confederation. Her parents decide to marry her off in an arranged marriage that she wants no part of. So she runs off. And the family of the guy she is supposed to marry sends an assassin after her. This book is how Ananna and the assassin’s, Naji, lives go after they meet.

The world building in this book is not that great. There’s so much that isn’t explained, and it’s such a fantastical world that you will want everything explained more thoroughly.  The pirate life, and the assassin life, and the magic is interesting. Apparently mermaids and sirens and other creatures exist too though we didn’t get to see them. They are only mentioned. I did like how many locations we get to see in the world though. We see a city, the desert, the sea, and a magical island. It’s not something that usually happens in books even if traveling is an element.

I’ve seen many mixed reviews for this book, and I think the main thing that will decide if you like it is if you like Anannna. It’s first person in her point of view so the reader is very close to her. I personally love her so that is going to influence how I describe her. She is tough, smart but not educated, loyal, and a complex, good character. Her one goal in life is the be the captain of her own pirate ship which isn’t really a thing because sexism. She’s a good fighter, endlessly determined and stubborn. She does have this thing with beautiful people where they aren’t trustworthy. I thought I would be annoyed by it, but honestly it’s not a big part of the book at all. Ananna is only vaguely described with a bigger frame, bigger boobs, and frizzy hair. The general consensus is she is not attractive which is kind of nice for a main character. 

The summary and even other reviews always talk about romance, but really there is none. If you are going into this book expecting a wild romance, you will be disappointed. I haven’t read the second book, but in this one there is only an unrequited crush. It pops up a little bit, but it isn’t a big part of the story at all.

A lot of this book is about survival. It takes a lot of pages between plot points. So in general it is a slow story. This is where I think liking Ananna is key is liking the book. For me, I was fascinated with how Ananna hid and got water, and did basically very simple things in between the big scenes. So I sped right through them, and didn’t notice how slow it was until I finished the book and thought on it. If you don’t like her, it is sure to be a drag, and I think that’s where people struggle with liking this book.

I gave it four stars. I am definitely picking up the next book. If anyone is looking for a short book with a tough, different main character, pirates, assassins, unrequited love, and blood magic, I think you will like it too.

4 stars

Book Predictions

“Restore Me” Theories and Predictions

34992929

Restore Me by Tahereh Mafi is the fourth book to the Shatter Me series. Four years after the original trilogy ended, Mafi has decided to continue on the series for another three books. The first one, Restore Me, is coming out on March 6th, 2018. Just a couple days ago a sample of the first thirty pages came out which both Isis and I were lucky enough to get and read. We’ve since come up with a few theories about the new series.

Also, we’ve just recorded the first episode of our new podcast Tea Talks. Currently, it’s just on Youtube, but we’re hoping to move it to other platforms in the future. Our first episode discusses Restore Me more in-depth, if you want to know more of our thoughts.

  • Warner and Juliette will both have POV chapters in the new book. Most think that means one will die or they will be separated. I also think it could be because Mafi read the original series and realized that Juliette, no matter her character growth, is still an unreliable narrator. With having Warner narrating, we will get a lot more information than we would just being stuck in Juliette’s head. 

 

  • Warner is mourning his father. Even if he was an abusive bastard, that was his father, and he has to deal with those emotions. And with the fact that it was Juliette who killed him. I think this will cause a little rift between them because they aren’t talking about it. 

 

  • But Adam is going through the same thing as Warner. This is their chance to really bond and get closer to each other. No one else will understand as completely as the other. I’m really looking forward to this as a way to get to know Adam again without Juliette’s prejudice, and it will bring more cute James scenes.

 

  • I think Adam will get closer to Alia, the weapons designer. Mafi has said that he won’t have a love interest in this book, but I think it will build up to something in the other books.

 

  • Mafi has also mentioned new characters. In the sample, it mentions some of Warner’s childhood friends coming to visit to check out the situation. He thinks they are true evil, but I don’t see why they can’t be similar to him. They can just be acting, and revealing their true selves now. 

 

  • Mafi also mentioned a love interest for Kenji. I’m wondering if one of these new people could be it. Or a civilian.

 

  • In the sample, it talks about Oceania responding to Juliette’s call for an international conference.  They respond informally, can’t wait to see you. Not meet. See. I think it’s a good possibility that they could be Juliette’s parents. 

 

  • Also, Juliette in the leadership position. It’s not going to go well. She knows nothing about the world, and in the first thirty pages, it shows she’s not interested in learning. She’s the same as in the original trilogy where she’s stuck in her own head, and waits for action cues for everyone else. 

 

  • I think this will be Warner’s character arc. Juliette is kind of Warner’s Adam where he is blinded by love. I’m really curious if Juliette and Warner will stay together for the entirety of the new series and if they would still be end game. 
Book Reviews

Autoboyography by Christina Lauren – Book Review

autoboy

This book is important.

First of all, I’d like to give thanks to the amazing authors of this book, Christina and Lauren, for being so careful and so honest with their characters. They tackled huge topics, but nothing felt forced. I’ve never read a book like this before. It felt genuine. Also, I’m just generally grateful to this book because after dealing with a lot of personal demons and not picking up a book in months, I read this and loved it. Loved it so much.

Autoboyography is the story of Tanner, a bisexual boy living in a town in Utah where the majority of people are Mormons. Although Tanner’s mom was Mormon before, his family does not practice any religion, not even through his Jewish father. Religion plays a big role in this story. For some reason, I’ve always been drawn to stories about religion, and religion in general. I’ve studied the subject a lot, and I’m fascinated to learn about the way people all over the world practice different religions. This story, in particular, exposes religion without harsh judgment, which I really appreciated.

The gist of it is, Tanner falls for a Mormon boy who is also his TA in his Senior year of high school. Things are complicated from that moment on. Sebastian is nothing but a sweetheart, who is deeply involved in his church and faith. I really loved that. Tanner tried to understand Sebastian’s love for his religion, and there were a lot of amazing discussions regarding religion and sexuality. Because those two things never seem to coexist in peace somehow.

“I don’t actually care if you break my heart, Sebastian. I went into this knowing it could happen and I gave it to you anyway. But I don’t want you to break your own. You have so much space in your heart for your church, but does it have space for you?”

The communication between all of the characters in this book was phenomenal. There was no unnecessary drama due to miscommunication. People always spoke their thoughts and feelings. It was like a breath of fresh air, no matter how difficult some of the conversations were.

The characters were incredible. Tanner stole my heart from the very beginning, and I loved Sebastian because I got to see him through Tanner’s eyes full of love. I loved Tanner’s best friend Auddy. She was the sweetest person, so loving and accepting. My only complaint was that she got involved in the overall mess created, and I didn’t love that. Tanner’s family were a joy to read. His parents were supportive and open, and they were involved in his life. It’s an aspect rarely shown in books, but this one didn’t breeze through it. Sebastian’s parents weren’t the best, but I didn’t hate them, and that says a lot.

I connected with this book on so many levels. Sexuality and religion are two of my favorite topics to learn about, so this combination worked perfectly. Not only that, but coming from a Christian background, as well as being pansexual, I related so much to everything playing out. I’ve been there. I’ve seen the struggle. Thankfully, I’ve never felt any guilt about who I am, or who I love. I have a strong faith that doesn’t clash at all with my sexuality. But I know how hard it is for many others out there.

I can’t express how significant this book is. I would love for everyone to read it and take something from it. I would love to see more acceptance for our LGBTQ+ youth who come from religious backgrounds, who feel the need to hide who they are, who are afraid to act on their feelings. I would love for more religions to embrace these beautiful, amazing people and allow them to love who they love.

love

5 stars