Source: Gift

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Nonfiction Review: Born a Crime

January 16, 2020 Uncategorized 9 ★★★★★

Nonfiction Review: Born a CrimeTitle: Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood
Author: Trevor Noah
Source: Gift
Links: Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating:five-stars

Summary: Thoughtful, funny, moving, informative – this memoir was everything I could have ask for.

While I’ve been hearing good things about this memoir for a long time, I have to admit that I put off reading it because I was a little bitter at Trevor Noah for replacing Jon Stewart. I’m happy to admit that I’ve been wrong! This was a fantastic memoir about the author’s childhood, growing up biracial in South Africa at a time when the relationship between his black Xhosa mother and white Swiss father was illegal. I learned a lot and had a lot of fun reading it. Read more »

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A Romance Review: Slave to Sensation

June 12, 2019 Uncategorized 2 ★★★★

A Romance Review: Slave to SensationTitle: Slave to Sensation (Psy-Changeling, #1)
Author: Nalini Singh
Source: Gift
Links: Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating:four-stars

Summary: This book didn’t always handle race or consent perfectly and the sex scenes weren’t quite my thing, but it was a fun, fast-paced story set in a fascinating world.

“In a world that denies emotions, where the ruling Psy punish any sign of desire, Sascha Duncan must conceal the feelings that brand her as flawed. To reveal them would be to sentence herself to the horror of “rehabilitation” – the complete psychic erasure of everything she ever was… Both human and animal, Lucas Hunter is a changeling hungry for the very sensations the Psy disdain. After centuries of uneasy coexistence, these two races are now on the verge of war over the brutal murders of several changeling women. Lucas is determined to find the Psy killer who butchered his packmate, and Sascha is his ticket into their closely guarded society. (source)”. Passion, romance, and conflict ensue. Read more »

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Historical Nonfiction Review: Krakatoa

March 6, 2019 Uncategorized 4 ★★★

Historical Nonfiction Review: KrakatoaTitle: Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded
Author: Simon Winchester
Source: Gift
Links: Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating:three-stars

Summary: Fascinating science, but dry and Eurocentric in tone.

The eruption of Krakatoa in 1883 was by many metrics one of the largest volcanic explosions in recorded history. It is an event surprisingly many people are still aware of. This could be because of it’s destructive force, which led to a tsunami that killed nearly 40,000 people. It could because it is one of the first volcanic explosions for which we have much scientific information. Or it could be because the explosion was heard and measured around the world. The explosion potentially had historic significance as well, since it is considered one possible factor leading to an uprising by the Javanese rebelling against Dutch occupation. Read more »

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S or Ship of Thesus: A Puzzling Book in Review

February 25, 2019 Uncategorized 4 ★★★

S or Ship of Thesus: A Puzzling Book in ReviewTitle: S.
Author: J.J. Abrams, Doug Dorst
Source: Gift
Links: Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating:three-stars

Summary: The format of this book was amazing, but the story was a bit disappointing.

The book S is composed of the book Ship of Thesus; marginalia written in that book by two students trying to identify the author; and a number of inserted items, from maps written on napkins to postcards and letters. The author of Ship of Thesus is rumored to be a revolutionary, responsible for a number of attacks on powerful industrialists who exploit their workers. As students Eric and Amy get to know each other and the book better, a series of mysterious events make them think the author may in fact have powerful enemies – enemies who may now be after them. Read more »

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#BeatTheBacklist Review: Dangerous Books for Girls

January 15, 2018 Uncategorized 16 ★★★★

#BeatTheBacklist Review: Dangerous Books for GirlsTitle: Dangerous Books For Girls: The Bad Reputation of Romance Novels Explained: Expanded Edition
Author: Maya Rodale
Source: Gift
Links: Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating:four-stars

Summary: A really thoughtful collection of essays, conversational in tone but addressing substantial questions raised by the romance genre.

Even among some romance readers, who may describe reading romance as their ‘guilty pleasure’, romance has something of a bad reputation. Formulaic. Unrealistic. Fluff. These are just some of the charges commonly leveled against romance. In this collection of short essays, romance author and reader Maya Rodale explores the origins of the stigma surrounding romance novels. She explores the history of the romance and discusses how the treatment of romance novels tracks with the way society treats women. She also shares survey results and interview quotes to support claims about how romance novels are perceived. Read more »

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#ReadThemAllThon Review: Vicious

August 28, 2016 Fiction 4 ★★★★★

#ReadThemAllThon Review: ViciousTitle: Vicious (Vicious, #1)
Author: V.E. Schwab, Victoria Schwab
Source: Gift
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link)|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating:five-stars

Summary: This book completely lived up to the hype, with fantastic world-building and an enjoyably complex antihero.

“Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong. Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end?” (Source) Read more »

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#FuturisticFriday Review and Giveaway: If I Was Your Girl

May 1, 2016 Fiction 6 ★★★★

#FuturisticFriday Review and Giveaway: If I Was Your GirlTitle: If I Was Your Girl
Author: Meredith Russo
Source: Gift
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link)|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating:four-stars

Summary: Although not my usual type of book, I loved the authentic characters and the heartwarming, edifying story.

“Amanda Hardy is the new girl in school. Like anyone else, all she wants is to make friends and fit in. But Amanda is keeping a secret, and she’s determined not to get too close to anyone. But when she meets sweet, easygoing Grant, Amanda can’t help but start to let him into her life. As they spend more time together, she realizes just how much she is losing by guarding her heart. She finds herself yearning to share with Grant everything about herself, including her past. But Amanda’s terrified that once she tells him the truth, he won’t be able to see past it. Because the secret that Amanda’s been keeping? It’s that at her old school, she used to be Andrew. Will the truth cost Amanda her new life, and her new love?” (Source) Read more »

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A Reluctant Romantic Review: A Kiss at Midnight

February 10, 2016 Uncategorized 11 ★★★

A Reluctant Romantic Review: A Kiss at MidnightTitle: A Kiss at Midnight (Fairy Tales, #1)
Author: Eloisa James
Source: Gift
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link)|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating:three-stars

Summary: I loved the witty banter and bold, humorous godmother but the relationship was unconvincing.

“Forced by her stepmother to attend a ball, Kate meets a prince… and decides he’s anything but charming. A clash of wits and wills ensues, but they both know their irresistible attraction will lead nowhere. For Gabriel is promised to another woman—a princess whose hand in marriage will fulfill his ruthless ambitions.” (Source) Read more »

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A Reluctant Romantic Review: Fantasy Lover

February 3, 2016 Uncategorized 18 ★★★★

A Reluctant Romantic Review: Fantasy LoverTitle: Fantasy Lover (Dark-Hunterverse #1)
Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon
Source: Gift
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link)|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating:four-stars

Summary: With engaging character development and dialogue, as well as sex scenes that weren’t too over the top, this made for a fun read and a great start to my month of reading romance.

Being trapped in a bedroom with a woman is a grand thing. Being trapped in hundreds of bedrooms over two thousand years isn’t. And being cursed into a book as a love-slave for eternity can ruin even a Spartan warrior’s day.”(Source)

When Grace Alexander jokingly completes the ritual to summon Julian of Macedon, she’s shocked and not entirely pleased when a naked man appears in her living room. She is not, however, as shocked as Julian is when Grace doesn’t immediately jump his bones drag him into the bedroom. Instead, her past experiences give her the compassion to recognize the down-sides to Julian’s curse and he is likewise able to understand the hurt that caused her to swear off relationships. Unfortunately, whether or not Julian and Grace want to be together, Julian is doomed to return to the book after thirty days unless they can break the curse. Read more »

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Review: The Violinst’s Thumb

January 7, 2016 Uncategorized 9 ★★★★★

Review: The Violinst’s ThumbTitle: The Violinist's Thumb: And Other Lost Tales of Love, War, and Genius, as Written by Our Genetic Code
Author: Sam Kean
Source: Gift
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link)|Indiebound |Goodreads
Rating:five-stars

Summary: This engaging science read was perfect for me, well researched and full of fascinating anecdotes, including a surprising number that were new to me.

I really loved the way this book was organized. The author managed to generally move forward through the history of evolution and the history of genetics at the same time. Each chapter answers a fairly specific question and each set of chapters addresses a broader question, such as what makes us human and where all of our discoveries are leading us. This structure made for an accessible and intriguing read. Read more »

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