Category: book reviews

Young AdultUndead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson …

What makes a five star read? For me, it is a book that moves me– makes me laugh out loud, makes me cry, makes me think. I read so many books, so quickly, that I often consume without pausing. A five star book stops me in place and makes me pay attention. 

Here are the 5 star reads of 2018:

Fiction

Spoonbenders by Daryl Gregory

This is a surprisingly tender, heartwarming, charming book! Told from a mix of POVs and across timelines, it manages to be both an interesting exploration of family life and a page-turner. I wanted to know the characters better while also being heavily invested in the plot.

My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh

First, let me tell you, the narrator’s voice is so strong, I didn’t realize she went unnamed until I read a review pointing it out. It’s not necessarily a trustworthy voice, but it is honestly confrontational, sometimes cruel, very funny, and wickedly sharp. The narrator does not spare you, when she is talking about others or herself. Sometimes, I cringed at the text, and sometimes– maybe even more upsetting– I nodded in agreement.


Horror

There’s a Giant Trapdoor Spider Under Your Bed by Edgar Cantero

Funny, entertaining, and just scary enough to get your pulse racing. A perfect short read.


Memoirs & Nonfiction

I Am, I Am, I Am by Maggie O’Farrell

A memoir of near-death experiences, I found it sometimes frightening, sometimes so stressful that I had to put the book down and walk away from it, and then, deeply moving. 

Lady Killers: Deadly Women Throughout History by Tori Telfer

Tefler doesn’t sensationalize. She interrogates and asks questions, digs deeper. She embraces the horrifying facts of each case while also drawing out deeper themes, showing a side of women’s lives not often explored in the media. 


Romance Novels

A Scot in the Dark by Sarah MacLean

A Beauty and the Beast re-telling, with scandalous art and giant Scotsman and so. many. feelings. MacLean really delves in there and grabs your heart, squeezing it for all it is worth.

Burn for You by JT Geissinger

Jackson is a beast on the outside, and a real emotional mess on the inside. He’s crusty and short tempered and quick to snap. He’s damaged by his past and not willing to let anyone in. Until Bianca. She takes him to task for his behavior, sasses him back and let’s him have it when he pushes her too far, and god bless him, he loves it.  

The Governess Game by Tessa Dare

It’s perfectly delightful in the way of the best romance novels. Funny and also poignant, light-hearted and also deeply emotional. The book is really about how we build our hopes and desires, and how we see ourselves and our worthiness to achieve those hopes and desires. It’s heavy stuff wrapped up in fluffy bow of will-they-won’t-they tension, stolen kisses, clandestine meetings, and overwhelming desire.

Wicked and the Wallflower by Sarah MacLean

Are you worthy of love? Can you find someone worthy to love? These are big questions that Felicity and Devil grapple with even as they plot and scheme both with and against each other. Both are lost souls, desperate and lonely, but also convinced that love is not for them. And that story, of finding and determining your own self worth in order to better love the person meant for you, so totally resonated with me. It brought me to tears.

Young Adult

Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson

Yes, this is a story about witches and magic and bringing the dead back to life, but it is grounded in very real emotions. Mila’s loneliness, her loss, really overwhelmed me. And then the difficulties she faced after getting Riley back broke my heart all over again. Mila is an outcast and a loner– Riley was truly the only person who meant anything to her. Watching their friendship sputter and stall, struggling as Mila struggles to try and understand what is happening to her and her friend, is hard. I felt very moved by the love and devotion present in this book, by the weight and meaning that Anderson gave to friendship and companionship.

Regular

This book was a 2 in 1 the first book is about a single mom who moves herself and her son to a house of their own instead of an apartment. When the neighbor’s dog comes into their new yard will it lead to an unlikely relationship?

The second book is about another single mother who is dating to fall for her teenage son’s friend’s father.

We’ll see if that female-presenting nipple is …

We’ll see if that female-presenting nipple is too much for Tumblr.

My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh

When I finished the book, I immediately went in search of reviews and articles about it. Truthfully, a part of me was afraid that maybe I didn’t understand it– maybe the book was smarter than me. 

A woman in her mid-twenties, nameless, decides the best way to transform herself and her life is by sleeping through it. So she finds a quack psychiatrist (just by luck) and gets prescribed pills upon pills upon pills. And then she embarks on a year-long quest to remain asleep. 

First, let me tell you, the narrator’s voice is so strong, I didn’t realize she went unnamed until I read a review pointing it out. It’s not necessarily a trustworthy voice, but it is honestly confrontational, sometimes cruel, very funny, and wickedly sharp. The narrator does not spare you, when she is talking about others or herself. Sometimes, I cringed at the text, and sometimes– maybe even more upsetting– I nodded in agreement. 

Also the premise! To numb yourself so sufficiently from life, that you actually spend a year asleep… Am I alone in saying how tempting that sounds? Of course, the reality of it, at least in the book, is much more visceral and savage and heartbreaking. The narrator is an enviable character in many ways – she’s rich, she’s pretty, she’s thin, etc., but never did I once wish to trade places with her. This is a book that embraces alienation and isolation, but never moralizes. It’s not a fable with a lesson learned at the end. It quite possibly is smarter than I am, but I still really enjoyed reading it. 5 stars.

IT Book Review

Author: Stephen King (but y’all knew that)

Rating: 5/5

Buy: Amazon US

         Amazon UK

Even thinking about this book makes me way too emotional. Not with grief or sadness, noooo… but with complete awe and admiration. Okay fine, maybe a little bit of grief and sadness but that’s to be expected. IT is an epic that none other than King could pull off in a single novel without the reader needing a break. I inhaled this book like the air I breathe and couldn’t help but feel a little choked when it was over. 

One thing that stood out to me about IT is the effortless complexity that King can weave over the different timelines. I had no trouble understanding the sequence of events (which is unusual given my tendency to confuse myself) and there was no timeline I preferred over the over. 

STEPHEN KING’S CHARACTERS MAKE HIM MORE THAN JUST A HORROR WRITER!! Horror writers stereotypically thrive off plot and shock-factor, but IT’s characters show how sophisticated of a craftsman King is. He values having 3-Dimensional characters as much as a 3-Dimensional plot, and it’s amazing that a lot authors don’t understand how much the plot relies on the characters. I would die for every. single. one. of the losers. My favourite has to be Richie, I love the inappropriate and important humour he possesses even when the world is falling apart (weelll, apart from that one time but let’s not talk about that).

As a villain, It is fascinating. King gives the harrowing, deep-seated horror of JK Rowling’s dementors a face and a sick, disturbing personality that’s almost human. It itself blurs the line between supernatural, symbolism, and the evil in humanity in a mix which was terrifying, unreal and still completely relevant.

Basically, it’s a new favourite and definitely worth the commitment of the 1,200 pages!! I might do an extended, spoiler-filled analysis of my favourite and the most controversial scenes, but we’ll see.

The Deepest Roots by Miranda Asebedo Review

Title: The Deepest Roots

Author: Miranda Asebedo

Age Group: Teen/Young Adult

Genre: Magical Realism

Series: Standalone

Star Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.

I found this book through a book recommendation list, and it had been sitting in my library stack for a while. Once I realized that I couldn’t renew it anymore, I put it at the top of my stack, starting it as soon as I finished Soulstealer. I was even more excited when the author began to follow me on Instagram; unfortunately, I couldn’t get a picture, because I had to return both it and Soulstealer back to the library before I could get decent lighting. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but this book was a great reminder of how much I love the magical realism subgenre. Quickly paced, beautifully written, suspenseful and more than a little haunting, The Deepest Roots is one of my favorite books of 2018, and I can’t wait for more from this talented debut author!

Cottonwood Hollow, Kansas, is a strange place, some say even cursed. For the past one hundred years, each girl born in its boundaries has been gifted with a special, unique talent. Best friends Rome, Lux, and Mercy all have similar talents, but most of the time, they feel like curses. Rome is a Fixer, but being able to fix the things she touches won’t help her mom out with the climbing bills, and she refuses to confide in Lux and Mercy about what’s going on at home. But it turns out Rome isn’t the only one hiding secrets behind closed doors, for Lux’s home life is crumbling, even as she struggles to stay strong.  But an even more pressing mystery begins to mount: Why are the young women in Cottonwood Hollow cursed? What caused it? Finding the answers she craves just might mean risking everything, even her closest friends.

               This book was such a lovely surprise! It kind of was a mashup, for me, of Practical Magic and The Goonies, though that sounds like a really weird comparison. The writing was sparse but beautiful, and I was immediately entranced by the stark beauty of Cottonwood Hollow. The pacing was breakneck, and Rome’s voice was hypnotic and wry and quick to the point. I really liked the way that the town’s powers were incorporated into the story; it tied really well together. But my favorite part of the book was the close, tender friendship of Rome, Lux, and Mercy; all three girls were different, but I feel like they really complemented each other with their individual character traits. I also enjoyed the other characters, especially Red, Rome’s mother, Jett, and Mercy’s tightknit, loving family. At times, all of the different characters were difficult to follow, but I really enjoyed it nonetheless. My favorite part was the mystery of it all, trying to figure out just what was going on in the strange little town of Cottonwood Hollow. I really liked the ending, also; it really tied everything else together. The Deepest Roots is a heartfelt, tender and beautifully written exploration of friendship, family, and being comfortable with yourself, even when it seems the odds are stacked against you. The bottom line: Dark, true, beautifully written, and heartfelt, I loved The Deepest Roots, and I can’t wait for more from this promising, talented debut author! Next on deck: Not Even Bones by Rebecca Schaeffer!

https://literatureobsessed.blogspot.com/2018/12/the-deepest-roots-by-miranda-abesedo.html

Regular

I thought this book was going to be about the artist who painted the birth of venus but it wasn’t. It was a girl who marries a gay man and has an artist’s baby and then goes to live in a convent.

Regular

When a family moves into an old Victorian home that belonged to the founder of the town, someone sends nasty letters to the family calling themself the watcher. Can one of their friends figure put who the watcher is before they move out? Read and find out.

Regular

This book is TLC’s the little couple. It doesnt matter if you’re rich or poor, little or big, you if have something to achieve you can achieve it if you think of the motto think bigm

Catwoman: Soulstealer by Sarah J. Maas Review

Title: Catwoman: Soul Stealer

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Age Group: Teen/Young Adult

Genre: Fantasy

Series: DC Icons, book three

Star Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.

I’m a complete comic junkie, though usually, I tend to lean more toward Marvel than DC. However, there are a few notable exceptions in the DC Comics canon. Two of those are the protagonists of the two previous Icons novels, Diana/Wonder Woman, and Bruce Wayne/Batman, and the third DC Icons book returns to Gotham with the young woman who becomes Catwoman, the author being Sarah J. Maas. If I’m being totally honest, part of the reason I picked up Soulstealer was because I was hoping to see certain other characters as well, and I was not disappointed. I really enjoyed this book, and I’m really excited about the next entry in the series. This book is one of my favorites of Sarah J. Maas, and one of my favorite books of 2018.

Soulstealer explores how the young Selina Kyle became the master thief and techie, Catwoman, and I really loved the ride, every step of the way. The book begins with Selina fighting for money, literally, forced to hand to hand combat in order to support herself and her sister. After returning as the wealthy, mysterious socialite Holly Vanderhees, she begins to use her training and cunning to bring the corrupt members of Gotham down hard. Things soon get further complicated when she crosses paths with several residents of the city’s seedy underbelly, and Selina soon realizes that her mission could cost her everything, to cap all of her other losses. But hey, when the Bat’s away, the cat will play, right?

I really liked this book; it’s probably my favorite so far in the series. Selina Kyle is one of my favorite characters from the Batman canon, and to have a whole book to read of her journey; I love comics, but I really like this medium to tell familiar stories. As soon as I was done with For a Muse of Fire, I dove in, not sure what to expect. The pacing was breakneck, and I was immediately plunged into Selina’s dangerous but exciting world; I really liked getting to know who the young woman who becomes Catwoman was; it really helped me understand her. It was nice to have background of a character whose past I knew so little about. I also loved the other cameos Maas introduced, some of my favorites: Batwing, Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, the Joker. I loved the way that Selina tried to balance being normal and being a cunning, clever thief by night. I was cheering, laughing, and crying the whole time; it felt like returning to a more fun, but still gritty, version of the Gotham I thought I knew. There were times that I was slightly confused, but overall, this book is my favorite of the series, and though I’ve never been a Superman fan, I’m looking forward to it next year. Sarah J. Maas has done a fantastic job of bringing one of my favorite comic book characters to life, and I’m so excited for Matt de la Pena’s Superman! One of my favorite books of 2018! The bottom line: An origin story for one of my favorite characters in the whole DC canon, I loved Soulstealer; it is my favorite book in the Icons series, and of the year! I can’t wait for the next book in the series, and this one is a testament to Sarah J. Maas’s considerable talent! Next on deck: The Deepest Roots by Miranda Asebedo!

https://literatureobsessed.blogspot.com/2018/11/catwoman-soul-stealer-by-sarah-j-maas.html

Regular

This book is a two in one book. The first takes place after a widow loses her husband. She decides to go away for a bit and with the help of a dog she rescues she learns the meaning of love again

The second book takes place during a war. La short for lavender wants to cheer everyone up with a band that she helps create. She must also find the man responsible for taking the cash from a local farmer.