"I spent my life folded between the pages of books." -Tahereh Mafi

Some of my reviews are normal non-spoilery reviews. But some of reviews contain lots and lots of spoilers to help you (and me!) remember what happened when the next book in the series finally comes out. Both review types are clearly marked.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn

This review is spoiler free!!

My rating: 2/5 stars

This book was so problematic. First, I thought a book about a girl coaching guys through their first times would be a lot more sex positive. But instead we get Mercy slut-shaming herself for "giving herself" to so many guys. Ugh.

And then there were the problems with consent. I almost quit 3% in at this tidbit:
"What would you do if I was Melody?"
"I'd tell you you were beautiful," he says, "I'd ask if I could touch them."
"Right and wrong," I say. "You're always right to tell a girl she's beautiful. But never ask if you can do something. Be bold, because confidence is one thing you can absolutely fake until you actually feel it."
 Yes, she's telling a guy to not bother with consent because girls don't like that. Seriously?? This is what we're marketing to teens in 2015? And then there's the scene where she's sexually assaulted but it's never treated that way. She invites a guy over for sex, changes her mind when he's a total creep and asks him to leave. And instead of leaving, he blackmails her into having sex with him. And instead of rape, it's just chalked up as a "bad experience." 

In addition to all this, there's an attempt at a female friendship, except that Mercy feels the need to constantly lie to her best friend Angela. She pretends to be a Christian (going to Bible study with her) and a virgin. Friendship fail. A good friend doesn't need to lie about who she is.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Liars, Inc. by Paula Stokes

This review is spoiler free!!

My rating: 2/5 stars

Not one likable character in this whole book. Like seriously, I couldn't bring myself to care if everyone in this book died. So I really didn't care if Preston was dead, who killed him, or if Max ended up going to jail for it.

Why do teenagers in books have to be so stupid? They really don't. Not all (or even most) teenagers are as idiotic as the characters in this book. If my best friend had gone missing when I was a teenager, I know I would have promptly gone to my parents and/or the police. And especially if her blood-covered phone showed up in my car, I would have contacted the police. I mean, I get that this perhaps would have made for a boring book, but at least it would have been more believable than this pile of shit.

Hotel Ruby by Suzanne Young

This review is spoiler free!!

My rating: 3/5 stars

This book is such a mind-fuck! At least until I figured out the twist about halfway through. But even then it was still enjoyable. I hate trying to review books like this because it's so difficult to review without giving anything away. So I'll just say that if you like slightly spooky books that keep you guessing, then you should totally read this book!

Paperweight by Meg Haston

This review is spoiler free!!

My rating: 3/5 stars

This was so disturbing, but in a good way. I've never had any sort of problem with food, so it was difficult to totally relate to, but the author did a good job of making me almost understand Stevie's motivations. There were parts that were almost too disturbing in the way that she sees food. But it seemed pretty true to what those who have eating disorders go through. Which made it even more disturbing.

This book was good, but I still didn't feel as much reading it as I felt like I should have. I just never fully connected to Stevie. Good, solid book, but not amazing.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow

This review is spoiler free!!

My rating: 3/5 stars

This started out strong but I just got bored about 3/4 in. The concept was interesting and the world-building was solid. Every time I thought, "wait, but what about...?" it was explained.

And it was relatively unpredictable...for a ya dystopian that is. I wasn't quite sure where were going, but I enjoyed the ride.

Until we got there. And then I just got bored. I'm really not sure why, but I just lost interest. Maybe because it felt like the author was just trying too hard at times. Or maybe because some of the characters just weren't that well-developed. Regardless it was a struggle to finish this one even though I initially loved it.

What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler

This review is spoiler free!!

My rating: 5/5 stars

This book tackles so many difficult issues and it does it perfectly. Rape culture, consent, feminism. All handled perfectly. Finally. When the main character loses her virginity, she focuses on the active consent she's giving. And it's still portrayed in a sexy way (take that - anyone who thinks that consent isn't sexy!!). And when when of her friends bashes feminism, she defends it perfectly simply by defining it.

There is a lot of slut-shaming throughout the book, but it's believable under the circumstances. It's quite common for people to slut-shame rape victims. And it's dealt with well - rarely does the MC join in or think it's okay. Sometimes she doesn't object when I wish she would, but that's also understandable under the circumstances. Of course the slut-shaming bothered me - that's the point

It was good to see how differently everyone reacted to this one event. And it seemed that each of the MC's friends had a different reaction - from fear (that it could have been her) to sympathy to anger (that it was interfering with the basketball season). Each of these emotions was explored well - one of the friends who keeps slut-shaming the victim does so out of fear because she wanted to affirm that she's so different from the victim and that something like this would never happen to her.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Angelfall by Susan Ee

Angelfall (Penryn & the End of Days, #1)
This review is spoiler free!!

My rating: 4/5 stars

I've been avoiding this one for a while because I thought the angel thing would annoy me. I'm not a Christian and I just don't like angel stories. I dislike angel stories so much that I actually stopped watching Supernatural when all the angel stuff started happening! (don't worry - I started back up again!!) But this doesn't hit you over the head with religion. Actually, Raffe, an angel, admits to being agnostic.  

This novel is essentially a typical YA post-apocalyptic survival novel. Girl's sister gets taken and she has to navigate her new post-apoc reality to get her back, with the help of a hot guy who may be good or evil. It's pretty standard, but it's a standard I like, so I'm cool with it!