I loved this book! I think this one is another favorite I've read so far this year.
It's such a light-hearted book, and it made the book feel really baI loved this book! I think this one is another favorite I've read so far this year.
It's such a light-hearted book, and it made the book feel really balanced with everything that Amal had to deal with. There were several times when I felt really angry at other people because of the things they said or the way they acted, but I also liked how strong her faith was, and how it didn't waiver.
Like, when Amal was asked to give a speech to give insight into Islam and terrorism, and why they did what they did. I loved that Amal refused to do it because they're not representative of Islam. I also liked her response to the class president.
"You're Christian, right?
"...Yeah...what's that got to do with anything?
"Ok, well I'll give the speech if you give a speech about the Ku Klux Klan."
"Yeah, why not? They were really religious, so obviously what they did was textbook Christianity, right? And how about those Israeli soldiers bombing Palestinian homes or shooting kids?"
The fact that she's the only Muslim at her school, and thus the authority on all thing Muslim...sadly, it wasn't that surprising, but it still made me angry on her behalf. And the fact that if she's wearing a hijab, it's either because her parents are making her do it, or it's because she's a religious fanatic. And the fact that the guy she has a crush on thinks she's repressed because she believes until waiting until marriage to have sex, or even kiss someone? Also made me really, incredibly angry at a fictional character. But at the same time, I felt like that scene was very true to life, and I loved how she strongly she believed in it.
I think some people might find Does My Head Look Big In This? a little preachy, but I honestly didn't mind that (in this instance) because it's coming from such a different perspective. Plus, I didn't really find the book to be preachy, but I can understand why some people might think that. And Amal does encounter quite a bit of ignorance and stupid comments and assumptions, and I thought she dealt with it really well.
I was expecting more anti-Islam sentiment, and I'm not sure if it's something that happens a lot in Australia, or if it was because the book took place not that long after 9/11 (and I'm the first the admit that I'm completely clueless about any impact it had elsewhere in the world), or if it's really not as bad as I (very wrongly) assumed.
Reading this book, I definitely realized how little I actually know about Islam, and I do wish that she explained the meaning of the hijab. I know why Amal wears it, but I'm curious if there's a meaning behind it. And I also wish we saw her explain some of the tenets of Islam, but the book worked well without it (and I can always read about it on my own). Towards the end of the book, I did find myself wondering how the story would play out in different parts of the world.
My Rating: 4 stars. I really liked it, and I thought Amal had a strong voice. She was funny and someone I could relate to, and this book made me think about some of the perceptions I had Islam. ...more
I liked Rose Under Fire so much better than Code Name Verity...which will come up a lot in this review. It's as much a review of Rose Under Fire as itI liked Rose Under Fire so much better than Code Name Verity...which will come up a lot in this review. It's as much a review of Rose Under Fire as it is an updated review of Code Name Verity (you can find my original review of Code Name Verity here).
I wasn't sure if I'd like Rose Under Fire, because while I liked Code Name Verity (well, I liked it the first time around, but after a second reading, I didn't really like it), I think I was expecting something more like Code Name Verity.
Rose Under Fire, to me, is told in a more traditional way than Code Name Verity. It's much more straight-forward, and it was really emotional for me. There were a couple of times where I had to put Rose Under Fire down because I needed a minute to breathe.
There are things that happen that got me so emotional- much more than Code Name Verity- and there were so many times when I was reading this book that I wished I felt the same way about Code Name Verity. I did go back and re-read Code Name Verity because I felt like I needed a refresher. The nice thing about Rose Under Fire is that you don't need to read Code Name Verity first, but in a lot of ways, I'm glad I read Code Name Verity first.
When I was re-reading Code Name Verity, I found that the story made a lot more sense the 2nd time around. Knowing what happened made the story make more sense, especially with how Verity is structured. Having re-read it while reading Rose Under Fire...certain characters made more sense. I did notice that this read that I really had force myself to keep going- I had a much harder time caring about what happened to Maddie or Julie, and it felt more technical this time than it did when I first read it. I understand why Verity did what she did, but it also made it harder to connect with what happened. Their friendship felt fake to me, especially in comparison to the friendships that Rose makes.
In a lot of ways, I'm glad I read Verity first, because I'm pretty sure I would have hated it had I read it after Rose. I really do think Rose is the better of the two books.
It was hard to read, because you see what it was like in a concentration camp for political prisoners. It very much focuses on Rose and the women she interacted with and became friends with, and while you don't see the other people who were at Ravensbruck, you still get a glimpse of how horrible it was. Rose changes so much by the end of the book, and I wish we got to see her life a little bit more after getting out of Ravensbruck. But at the same time, I thought we got enough of what happened to see what her life was life after and how hard it was for her to adjust to everything.
For so much of Rose Under Fire, I forgot that I was reading historical fiction, because it really felt like I was reading a memoir. Especially when Rose is actually in Ravensbruck, and what happened after. And that brings me to the author's note at the end of the book. I loved that Wein had so many resources at the end of the book, much more than she included at the end of Verity. It's so detailed, which is awesome, because- in my experience- you're usually lucky if you get an author's note in YA historical fiction.
My Rating: 4 stars. I didn't love it, but it's such an important story, and I liked it much more than Code Name Verity. ...more
*I received Avalon Rising from netgalley.com in exchange for a fair and honest review
I was hoping I would like Avalon Rising, but I didn't. I thought*I received Avalon Rising from netgalley.com in exchange for a fair and honest review
I was hoping I would like Avalon Rising, but I didn't. I thought the first book (Camelot Burning) was okay, but I was interested enough in the world that I thought I'd give Avalon Rising a try.
One of my biggest issues with Camelot was the fact that I didn't feel like the world or the characters were described, so I had the hardest time picturing everything and getting a good feel for a steampunk Camelot. Unfortunately, that is something that continues with Avalon. I just don't know if steampunk (which is normally associated with the Victorian era) works with Camelot and King Arthur. I mean, there's Avalon and a quest for the Holy Grail, but there are so few details about this Camelot that it could just as easily be set in a different time period. Maybe steampunk is too associated with the Victorian era for me to really see it written in any other time period.
I also didn't get why Jersulem and the Spanish Rogues kept coming up. I do admit that I should have read Camelot Burning before, and maybe that's why it was confusing. I'm also not familiar with a lot of the stories surrounding King Arthur, so it could be that. At any rate, it wasn't clear why those things are so important.
There is something about Avalon Rising that feels very cold and distant to me, and it felt like the characters were there, doing things I can't remember. I feel so bad about saying that, because I know a lot of work goes into writing a novel, but this series just isn't working for me, and coming to life the way I'd want it to.
My Rating: 1 star. I couldn't get into it, and it is a shame, because the idea of a steampunk Camelot is really promising. I just don't think this is the series for me....more
Rebel Belle is one I have mixed feelings about. I liked it, and it was fun and funny but after reading this one, I feel like the first book was a lotRebel Belle is one I have mixed feelings about. I liked it, and it was fun and funny but after reading this one, I feel like the first book was a lot better as a stand-alone- unless there's a third book that manages to be totally awesome, because even though I liked Miss Mayhem, I think I also would have been fine not reading this one.
The thing is, I just didn't care about the Ephors or Harper and David and the trials and finally knowing what happened to Bee. It just didn't live up to the expectations I had going into it. I was expecting more action, and it felt like it really dragged for most of the book.
For pretty much the entire book, I felt like it didn't really add to what happened in the first book, and is basically just trying to get us to the next book. Which is disappointing, because I had so much fun reading Rebel Belle and I wanted more of that.
I did find myself with questions, like what happened to the Ephors? Seriously, I want to know. And what is in store for Harper and crew, with how everything ended? I think it brought up more questions than answers.
I had some high hopes for Harper and David, but I didn't really care about what happened. I understand why things happened the way they did, but overall, I just didn't care that things ended the way they did. It is such a cliffhanger, so if you're not a fan of cliffhangers, you may want to wait until the next one comes out to read this one.
Rating: 3 stars. I don't really have a lot to say about it, and nothing really stands out, even though I just read it. It was fun, but I didn't love it either....more
I have such mixed feelings about UnDivided. I really liked it, and yet I was also disappointed in how things ended. It very much felt like it was addeI have such mixed feelings about UnDivided. I really liked it, and yet I was also disappointed in how things ended. It very much felt like it was added on to the series and yet it also felt like it was setting up something for a fifth book. Which is weird considering the series is only 4 books.
We do see a lot of change, like a moratorium on unwinding, and things are definitely tied up. I really wish we saw a little more of what things were like after the protest in D.C. and after election day, because I just couldn't get over the fact that the book ends with Connor giving his family a second chance.
Overall, it felt like the book was missing something the other three books have. And overall, you realize how fucked up the entire unwinding industry and Proactive Citizenry is. There was this viable option, and everything humanly possible was done to hide it. But I am glad that it is seen as an option again.
I did like all of the perspectives. It's really been one of my favorite things of this series, and I like that you gets so many different sides to it. But...the multiple perspectives were a little much in this one, and I feel like there was too much going on, and it felt like some things were dropped or forgotten about. I also really liked the articles scattered throughout the book, and how it connects real world stories to what's gong on with the book.
I had a harder time getting into it and caring about everything going on. I just wasn't invested in it the way I was in the other ones. I think part of it was the different perspectives and because it felt like it was added on.
Rating: 4 stars, because of how what we learn fits into the overall story and world but also because it felt like it was a random addition to the series that seems to be setting up a possible fifth book. ...more
Here's the thing with Sloppy Firsts...I liked it, and it was a cute book, but I totally read it at the wrong time. I...kind of feel like I'm too old fHere's the thing with Sloppy Firsts...I liked it, and it was a cute book, but I totally read it at the wrong time. I...kind of feel like I'm too old for the book. Don't get me wrong, Jessica is totally easy to relate to and I can see why people love this boo I was definitely reminded of The Princess Diaries, and Angus, Thongs And Full-Frontal Snogging (and there's another one I remember reading but I can't remember the name of it. I think it came out around the same time as Princess Diaries and Angus, though), so if you love those books, you'll love Sloppy Firsts.
I think Sloppy Firsts is the kind of book that teenage-me would have loved. As an adult, I felt like Jessica couldn't see that everything was going to be okay eventually. And I hate that I think that, because I think what she's going through and how she's feeling is perfectly normal and understandable and valid and very much one that happens a lot. (I'm pretty sure I'd react similarly). I do wish we saw Hope at some point in the book- either a letter back or something, because I really just wanted to see the best friend that Jessica misses...and to see the person that no one will ever measure up to. (That was definitely a point where I wanted to tell her that it's okay to have other friends, even though Hope is gone and will always be her best friend).
Rating: 3 stars. I didn't love it but it is a cute book. I just wish I had read it in high school, because teenage Nicole would have loved it....more
I really liked Adaptation! I read it for a brand new book club I'm a part of, and I liked it a lot more than Huntress (which I really need to re-readI really liked Adaptation! I read it for a brand new book club I'm a part of, and I liked it a lot more than Huntress (which I really need to re-read because I totally read it at the wrong time). Anyway, the idea that birds are causing these plane crashes, and no one knows what's going on, but we finally learn what happens as Reese gets more and more caught up in what happened. The whole thing with Amber was interesting, even when things go wrong, but I still really liked their relationship. And I also really liked her relationship with David- they did go through some really bizarre things together, and it makes sense that it bring them closer together. I was surprised by the possibility of a love triangle, but it really doesn't feel gimmicky at all, which is a nice change from most of the love triangles out there. And as much as I love romance, I also liked that it wasn't central to the plot (even though Reese does try to figure out who she is, in the midst of all of the craziness).
There is something sort of sci-fi-ish about the book, and it's a distant future that has so many possibilities to it, some of which could go very, very wrong. And that's what drew me in, the hint of things I can't even begin to imagine in terms of science and technology and medicine. It made the book super-interesting, and it really makes me want to read the sequel!
Rating: 4 stars. I didn't completely love it (and I find the idea of a minor being allowed to sign a non-disclosure agreement to be really hard to believe) but it's still a really great read....more
I actually spent a lot of the book really confused about what was happening. I know Ori got the justice she deserved or whatever, but I honestly am reI actually spent a lot of the book really confused about what was happening. I know Ori got the justice she deserved or whatever, but I honestly am really unclear about how that happened. I feel like I need to read it at least once or twice more just to figure out what on earth happened. There was the whole escaping prison, and all of the dead girls who were at the prison and it's definitely a mess of a confusing story. I found I couldn't connect with anyone, and I really wanted to know more about Ori, who is still shrouded in mystery...to me, at least. I kind of felt like things made less sense at it went on, especially since things weren't explained...either that, or it was super-subtle and I wasn't paying enough attention to what was going on.
It is an interesting way to tell a story, and I think it's the sort of story that needs at least 2 or 3 reads for everything to sink and make sense. I will say that it was hard to put down, and it is page-turner because you want to know what happens.
I don't know if I'm necessarily the right reader for this book, because I do like having answers to my questions, and I do like things to make sense, but with the right reader, I can see how this would be an awesome book.
Rating: 2 stars. It's definitely hard to put down, and there is a really creepy aspect that I love, but I think I need to read at least once more for everything to sink in.
*I received The Walls Around Us from netgalley.com in exchange for a fair and honest review....more
I thought Down From The Mountain was okay. There is something fascinating to me about reading books about people in cults but this one didn't quite woI thought Down From The Mountain was okay. There is something fascinating to me about reading books about people in cults but this one didn't quite work for me. There are a lot of things that are pretty stereotypical of cults, but also a couple of things that seemed really odd. Like, Narnia was mentioned several times but it didn't really seem to fit with everything else going on. You really do feel like you know what's going on at the compound, and you really feel like you know what's going on with Eva there and in the outside world, but I also wish we had more of her life before Righteous Path. And more about Righteous Path. The ending also seemed a little rushed, and I felt like we could have seen more of her life after leaving Righteous Path. There is something about the book that made it seem like it was set far earlier than it was, but that might be because of all the time spent on the compound. It is a pretty predictable book, and how everything went wasn't surprising. and it's been just over a week since I've read it...and it's pretty forgettable. Nothing has really stayed with me since finishing it. It's not bad, it's just not for me.
Rating: 2 stars. It's okay, but also a little forgettable and not for me.
*I received Down From The Mountain in exchange for an honest and fair review...more
I wanted to like Disappear Home, but found that I couldn't. I honestly didn't get why they were terrified of Adam, and how horrible Sweet Earth Farm wI wanted to like Disappear Home, but found that I couldn't. I honestly didn't get why they were terrified of Adam, and how horrible Sweet Earth Farm was, and I feel like if we had spent some time there with Mara, Shoshanna and their mom, them leaving would have more more sense and given everything more context. It was very moving at the end, but I felt like it was too late at that point. We definitely are told what's going on, and I wish we saw what was happening.
I understand why the mom acted the way she did, and she did have the sense to get the kids out of there, but at the same time, I disliked her so much. It was just so hard to care about any of them, even the girls, and it was hard to get invested in their story when I feel like we know so little about them.
It also didn't really feel like it was set in the 70's either. Granted, this book takes place during a time long before I was born, so I don't really know what the 70's were like, but it really could have happened at any point in time.
Rating: 1 star. It was an interesting premise, but I couldn't get into it, and it felt like too much was missing.
*I received Disappear Home from netgalley.com in exchange for a fair and honest review....more
I am so glad that there's a sequel to This Much Is True! I really liked seeing what was going on with Tally and Elvis, and even though things were rouI am so glad that there's a sequel to This Much Is True! I really liked seeing what was going on with Tally and Elvis, and even though things were rough for them, like really rough, they did get through it. And I really hope that there's another book, because I feel like their story is far from over. It definitely stands on its own, and even though you don't need to read the first book in order to know what's going on in this book, I think it's a really good idea to read the first one in order to fully get how much these two have been through. It has more of an impact when you understand everything that's happened. And I just loved it, and it was heart-breaking but not heart-breaking and angsty the way This Much Is True was. I don't know if it's because of the weird reading funk I've been going through, but it didn't hit me emotionally the way I thought it was.
Rating: 5 stars for being such a great story, and for keeping their story...very true to them, and who they are as a couple and as people. ...more
I thought Doll Bones was okay. If I were in elementary school or middle school, I'd probably love the adventure but it didn't quite work for me. I thiI thought Doll Bones was okay. If I were in elementary school or middle school, I'd probably love the adventure but it didn't quite work for me. I think because one of them was way more into imaginary adventures than the other two, and it seemed weird that no one would notice a few kids wandering around by themselves for a while. I know they need to in order to fulfill their quest, but something about it made it hard to get into. It is clear that there's a very established story in the world they created, and that is a story I'd love to read...it seems much more interesting than the three kids growing out of their imaginary adventures. But I do think some people will like it, even if it wasn't for me.
Rating: 2 stars, for reasons I mentioned above....more