P.C. Cast is a terrible writer, and honestly I'm a little surprised she managed to out-racist herself with Moon Chosen. There's blackface in the book.P.C. Cast is a terrible writer, and honestly I'm a little surprised she managed to out-racist herself with Moon Chosen. There's blackface in the book. BLACKFACE. Y'all, that is not okay. It doesn't matter what the intent is, blackface is NEVER okay. ...more
I wasn't interested before, and now I'm super not interested in a racist, homophobic story. If you don't know why this book is racist, please check ouI wasn't interested before, and now I'm super not interested in a racist, homophobic story. If you don't know why this book is racist, please check out this twitter thread: https://twitter.com/b00kstorebabe/sta......more
I love Mindy Kaling, and really enjoyed Why Not Me? I thought it provided a good insight into her life, especially around The Mindy Project, which I aI love Mindy Kaling, and really enjoyed Why Not Me? I thought it provided a good insight into her life, especially around The Mindy Project, which I absolutely adore. I also liked the bit about how she thought about becoming a Latin teacher if she didn't make it in Hollywood. I love the creative bits of e-mail and texts exchange between that Mindy and a teacher. She's so funny! ...more
AND I DARKEN by Kiersten White is probably going to be one of my favorite reads of 2017. It was February wthis review appears on Ashelynn's Bookshelf.
AND I DARKEN by Kiersten White is probably going to be one of my favorite reads of 2017. It was February when I read it, and I thoroughly enjoyed the historical re-telling of Vlad the Impaler as a teenage girl. Ottoman Empire, violence, and a girl who is badass? HELL. YES. Sign me up.
Now, let me preface this review by saying And I Darken is a long book (nearly 500 pages) and it starts off slowly. It’s also not a plot-driven story, but a character-driven story. The first 60 or so pages are just of Lada and Radu growing up in Wallachia. By page 69, they have arrived at Edirne in the Ottoman Empire, where they are pawns in their father’s trade for protection of his throne in Wallachia. If their father is to break the treaty, Lada and Radu will be killed. I mean, how awful would you feel if your father cared so little about you but realized you were valuable only by securing his throne?
In Edirne, Lada and Radu meet Mehmed, the third and least favorite son of the Sultan to the Ottoman Empire. They become friends as they grow up in the Ottoman Empire together. Lada is forever longing to go back home to Wallachia. Radu loves Islam and the Ottoman Empire and believes he is home. And as they grow, feelings also began to develop. Radu and Lada both fall for Mehmed.
Yes, this means Radu is gay or potentially bisexual as his sexual identity is never mentioned on the page. He only seems to have feelings for Mehmed though.
Siblings falling for the same person is like my favorite trope, guise.
However, Mehmed doesn’t share the same feelings toward Radu – at least not in And I Darken. Mehmed instead has feelings toward Lada and an intense relationship blooms between them. I loved their passionate scenes.
The characters in And I Darken come to life on the page; Lada becomes friends with Nicolae, a Janissary who is “a member of an elite force of military professionals, taken as boys from other countries, converted to Islam, educated, and trained to be loyal to the sultan.” (White, 480-481.) Radu becomes friend with Lazar, another Janissary, but Radu met Lazar in his father’s palace in Wallachia. Nicolae is also from Wallachia. The tight friendships make this story come to life because, again, it’s character-driven, not plot-driven. I’ve seen some reviews of people saying there’s too many characters, and that may be the case for them, but it wasn’t for me. There is a whole cast of characters, but I found it easy to keep them apart in my head because each character had an influence on Lada and Radu’s story. They weren’t throwaway characters. The characters all have a role, especially those in the Ottoman Empire, including the concubines in the Sultan’s harem. There is also a glossary of characters at the end on page 476.
And I Darken is told between Lada and Radu. I think this helps with appealing to a bigger audience because Lada is extremely violent and selfish. She could be seen as an unlikable narrator. Radu is sweet and innocent, and his chapters brought light to what could have been an extremely dark book. It’s still a dark book – the title says it all.
It’s also good to note that because of the period (1450s ish) and because of the extreme violence, this book isn’t for everybody. There is physical violence (and right away – Lada bites a cousin because he and his brother are beating up Radu) and sexual abuse including: grabbing a breast and a near rape scene.
I would recommend And I Darken to readers of White’s previous books (especially those who loved Mind Games), fans of dark, gritty, and complex stories, and fans of historical fiction a la His Fair Assassin by Robin LaFevers. I am extremely happy that And I Darken is the first book of a trilogy, and I am eager for the sequels....more
3 by Hannah Moskowitz is a provoking story about a polyamory couple, and one that I really enjoyed. It was a quick readThis review also appears here.
3 by Hannah Moskowitz is a provoking story about a polyamory couple, and one that I really enjoyed. It was a quick read and the perfect palette cleanser between the fantasy streak I’ve been on.
3 is set in Southern Florida, and it makes sense that the protagonist of the story, Taylor, would be of Cuban ancestry. However, I never thought that she was Cuban beside her mother calling her “mija” once in awhile and Theo mentioning Cuban art in her house.
Theo is of Brazilin ancestry. Taylor’s best friend Aanya is Indian.
I mention this because I appreciate the realness of 3, but also because aside from being mentioned that they are of these ancestries, there is no description. I did not picture Aanya, Theo, or Taylor as their each respective ancestries. Also I suspect since I know a white girl named Anya, and unless the character’s race is described on the page, readers will picture white characters.
3 is pretty much all dialogue. I am not one of those people who picture a movie when they are reading, so it doesn’t really bother me when a story is 75% dialogue. It makes for a fast read. But when the story is 75% dialogue and readers get snippets of “Theo is Brazilian,” you tend to not really agree with that. I wish there was more character descriptions and that it wouldn’t be such a mind-reeling instance of “I guess I could pass as a sister of a white girl and an Indian girl.”
However, despite the few spelling and grammatical errors, and the mostly dialogue story, 3 is a good story about a polyamory couple. The author Hannah Moskowitz states that it’s a queer polyamory couple, but Taylor’s sexuality is never addressed on the page. Nobody’s sexuality is. Josey and Taylor grow close in the relationship, Taylor thinking they are sisters and girlfriends (which is sweet) but that is where their relationship ends. Theo and Taylor actually touch and kiss.
I did love Taylor’s character growth with Josey. I loved Josey. She was probably my favorite character in 3. I enjoyed the relationship that Taylor had with Josey; it felt like a close female friendship relationship. Their just together scenes were my favorite parts. Like, I don’t think I can express how much I love Josey and how much I love Josey and Taylor together. Like I’m just going to write stories about Josey and Taylor together foreverrrr.
Also something I have to address: I felt in love while reading 3. My heart would flutter and it felt like the beginning of a relationship. That was a nice emotional touch throughout the story.
I loved the story, I love the polyamory couple. It’s not a topic that is usually found in YA literature – and this is actually my first YA story about polyamory. It’s refreshing to see these representations on the page, and I would love to read more. But as it always comes up with polygamy, a character asks if it’s “like Mormons,” and that pulled me out of the story. Mormons are not polygamous. Say it with me: Mormons are not polygamous. That show Sister Wives? They are not Mormon. Polygamous Mormons were separated from the church back in the 1800s. And it’s something that really annoys me, as I have Mormon friends and family, and stereotypes are never cool.
3 is also in need of serious edits. It’s self-published, and from the blog post Hannah Moskowitz wrote about it, I have a feeling she self-published it on an impulse. I love the cover. I loved the story, but know it could have been better if it had gone through an editor. If the author is serious about doing some self-published works, I think it would be worth it to invest in a freelance editor. As it is now, 3 reads like one of your friend’s manuscripts who is looking for feedback.
I would still recommend 3 to YA readers who are looking for a refreshing, quick read. The representation of a polyamory couple is really important, especially a queer one. But it is important to note that the queer part isn’t ever addressed. I think all of the errors in 3 can be overlooked because the story is that good. Anybody who is curious about how polyamory is addressed in YA should check out 3 by Hannah Moskowitz....more
I really enjoyed Alexandra Bracken’s The Darkest Minds series (although I haven’t read tThis review of Passenger also appears on Ashelynn's Bookshelf.
I really enjoyed Alexandra Bracken’s The Darkest Minds series (although I haven’t read the last book because I suck at reading series) and I was excited to pick up Passenger, which is about time travel. If you know me, you know time travel is one of my favorite subjects and I devour books about it.
The ability to time travel in Passenger is really unique, in which the person has possess the genes to travel through time. So not everyone is able to time travel. Those who can time travel have to find passages – and the passages only go to a certain period, like say America in 1776. It’s the same day, just the year and location change. I love that concept.
I also love that the book is written in third person, and the story is narrated between Etta and Nicholas. YA is dominated with first person, so Passenger is a nice break from the constant “I.” I also think it’s extremely hard to do a well dual POV book in first person; in third person, I never have problems with figuring out who is narrating the scene.
Etta finds out during a concert – she’s a violin prodigy – that she possesses the ability to time travel… by travelling through time. She is summoned by the head of a family, Ironwoods, who are one of four families who can travel through time. Etta obviously belongs to one of the families, but because of her mom, Rose, Etta doesn’t know the truth – like who her father is, or time travel, or anything. Grandfather, head of the Ironwood family, summoned Etta to him because he needs her to find an astrolabe that Rose hid – and she left behind a cryptic note that only Etta can read. Also Etta has only a few days to find it and oh yeah, her mom has been kidnapped by the Ironwoods.
Y’all, this plot is the best. I love cryptic notes. I love that it’s like a giant puzzle piece.
Etta and Nicholas, who is her companion and the bastard son of one of the Ironwoods, race through the passages as they decode the message Rose left behind and also slowly figure out that hey, maybe it’s not a good idea to give the astrolabe to the Ironwoods.
Passenger has intrigue and secrets, and Etta unravels the story behind her mom’s childhood and she also learns about the four families who can travel through time. Also we learn about Nicholas, who is Black and was a slave. Nicholas’s time period is the 1700s, so Passenger examines privilege and hardships Blacks had in the Americas, even those who were freed – which we find out that Nicholas is free, and that he has to carry Freedom Papers when he’s in his original time.
Also, Nicholas is somewhat of a pirate and I love that.
I love the world that Alexandra has built, and that there are passages that take you through time. One minute Etta is in America, and then she is in England during WWII. I found the concept of time travel so interesting in Passenger.
And the cover is probably one of the best YA covers I have ever seen. I absolutely love the cover.
Passenger kept me hooked until the end, but y’all, this isn’t a short book. Alexandra Bracken writes long, and I enjoy that about her books. Even though Passenger is nearly 500 pages, I still read through it quickly and enjoyed every second of it. I love the romance between Etta and Nicholas, I love the action and stakes. And even though I think the “protagonist doesn’t know this about herself” trop is overdone, I think it works well for this story.
I recommend Passenger to those fellow time travel loving book nerds out there, or those who just want a story with lots of action, intrigue, and romance....more