Posts Categorized: Review

Friday, April 07, 2017

Different in a Good Way: Done Dirt Cheap by Sarah Nicole Lemon

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Different in a Good Way: Done Dirt Cheap by Sarah Nicole Lemon
Done Dirt Cheap
Sarah Nicole Lemon
Genre: Contemporary, YA
Publication date: March 7th, 2017
by Amulet Books

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Tourmaline Harris’s life hit pause at fifteen, when her mom went to prison because of Tourmaline’s unintentionally damning testimony. But at eighteen, her home life is stable, and she has a strong relationship with her father, the president of a local biker club known as the Wardens.

Virginia Campbell’s life hit fast-forward at fifteen, when her mom “sold” her into the services of a local lawyer: a man for whom the law is merely a suggestion. When Hazard sets his sights on dismantling the Wardens, he sends in Virginia, who has every intention of selling out the club—and Tourmaline. But the two girls are stronger than the circumstances that brought them together, and their resilience defines the friendship at the heart of this powerful debut novel.
-A copy was provided by Amulet Books for review-

Motorbike clubs is always a good way to get a person’s attention but I honestly did not expect what I got from Done Dirt Cheap. I assumed there would be an element of fluff to the book but instead, what I got was a complex, thoughtfully crafted novel with words that just jumped off the page. There are some books you finish that will oddly make you feel nostalgic for something you don’t even quite remember and Done Dirt Cheap was that book for me. In some ways it was reminiscent of the contemporary YA novels I grew up on.

I think part of the nostalgia for me came from the focus on female friendships in this book. Like both the main characters have their love interests and those relationships are important (and thoughtfully developed) but the way Tourmaline and Virginia interacted WAS the highlight of the novel. It is what breathed life to it and what made it such a compelling piece of work. It kind of reminded me of the powerful female friendships I read about in Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants when I was a bb8, growing up.

The romantic relationships ~are~ important in the novel but only so much as how the main characters are defined by them (but also, those boys were both cute and IDK which one I liked more.) I love that they don’t necessarily read like an after thought but the novel doesn’t center around them. It only uses the relationships as a way to further character development.

There are more than just compelling female friendships in the novel though. THERE ARE GOOD FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS. Good in that they are well developed. They are not at the front and center of the novel bu they linger in the background in ways you can tell are important and that the book wouldn’t be the same without them.

Honestly, this book is like a 7 layer bar. Its got subtle details that might not work on their own, but together, ITS A FEAST. But maybe that’s not the best simile. There are just a lot of complex layers to the book that make it what it is. Details that shouldn’t matter but the book wouldn’t be the same without it.

The reason why this book doesn’t get all five stars though is that I felt like the plot was missing something. It is a character driven book and there is nothing wrong with a book being character driven but plots are equally important and I wish I had been able to see more of a definite plot arc.

Overall though, Done Dirt Cheap is a book you will want to have on your TBRs if you love character driven contemporary novels with pretty covers.

4 Stars
4 Hot Espressos

4 Reasons to Read Geekerella by Ashley Poston

4 Reasons to Read Geekerella by Ashley Poston

Posted by on 04/04/2017 • 6 Comments

GEEKERELLA is everything it promises to be. It is incredibly cute and adorably nerdy. Did you grow up kind of obsessed with the Another Cinderella Story movies? Do you want to read a book that is at least the first movie in book form? YOU’VE COME TO THE RIGHT PLACE. GEEKERELLA is everything you will ever want from a modern adaptation of a Cinderella retelling. It reminded me so much of why modern retellings of fairy tales are some of my favorite things to read.

Elle grew up watching Starfield (a Star Trek-esque show) with her father. It is one of her few connections to him now that he is gone and it is also one of her only form of escapes. It has allowed her to connect to…

Timely and Important: Saint Death by Marcus Sedgwick

Timely and Important: Saint Death by Marcus Sedgwick

Posted by on 03/30/2017 • 1 Comment

Saint Death is one of those books you are going to want to hurl across the room, not because you hate it but because its too painful. Or you could do what Joey does and put scary books in the freezer for another day. The release of the book is so timely and I hope that it will reach the hands of many because it is such an important book. Right now, the conversation surrounding immigration is one of the most politically charged ones. People feel like immigrants are ruining their lives and that the answer is to throw up metaphorical and literal walls between countries. To this I respond with:

I am going slightly off topic and that’s fine because Saint Death is a book that is going to start…

Not really memorable: Freya by Matthew Laurence

Not really memorable: Freya by Matthew Laurence

Posted by on 03/29/2017 • 1 Comment

I feel pretty let down by Freya? The question mark is there because I am not even entirely sure how I feel, just that Freya wasn’t what I wanted it to be when I was looking for a book with norse myth in it. I love books that are set in the modern world and feature heavy doses of mythology and yet, while Freya-the book-was absolutely adorable at times, Freya as a character was kind of annoying. She was obnoxious and while it sometimes made sense since she was a goddess, it could also get really annoying.

I like the contrast the author attempts with her being badass and feminine at the same time, but I also feel like he wasn’t entirely successful with crafting Freya’s character as a blend of those characteristics. She…

The Universe Thanks Whitney Gardner for Writing…: You’re Welcome, Universe by Whitney Gardner

The Universe Thanks Whitney Gardner for Writing…: You’re Welcome, Universe by Whitney Gardner

Posted by on 03/27/2017 • 2 Comments

You’re Welcome, Universe is an incredibly special book and one I count myself lucky to have had the opportunity to read. It’s eye-opening, heartwarming, angsty and just a whole lot of fun. Julia is a main character YA has been waiting for and will be made all the more better by her presence.

Julia is a deaf, Indian graffiti artist. She is incredibly talented but also just tired of graffiti not being taken seriously as an art form. She is tired of all the people who give graffiti a bad name and she is tired of it being seen as vandalism instead of ART that has the ability to make a point and to make people think. She gets kicked out of her school when she covers a slur about her…

Arthurian Myth Meets World War II: The Metropolitans by Carol Goodman

Arthurian Myth Meets World War II: The Metropolitans by Carol Goodman

Posted by on 03/24/2017 • 1 Comment

If you’ve been following along with discussions surrounding World War II books in the community, you will already know this but there aren’t many World War II books out there with Jewish main characters. Not only does The Metropolitans have a (German-American) Jewish main character, it also has Japanese-American, first nations & Irish-American main characters. The page space is split up b/w the four characters and while I cannot accurately speak for any of the rep since I am not from any of those groups, I did feel that it was done pretty well. (If you are from any of those groups and feel differently, I’d be eternally grateful if you choose to let me know so I may edit this review to reflect that!)

One of my favorite childhood books…

READ THIS BOOK!!!: Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza

READ THIS BOOK!!!: Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza

Posted by on 02/28/2017 • 5 Comments

I don’t know how to start this review, guysssssss. Empress of a Thousand Skies WAS AMAZING. LIKE I ACTUALLY CANNOT even formulate words even though its been almost a week since I read it. ITS GOT EVERYTHING. People on the run, royalty, secrets, betrayal and hints of romances. YES, MULTIPLE ROMANCES I THINK. I could be wrong.

Did you really like Illuminae? Read this fucking book and love it even more. Seriously. ITS THAT GOOD.

Reasons to Read Empress of a Thousand Skies

1. The world building. I love the complexity of the world. I love that the racial struggles IRL are addressed through racial struggles within the novel and I love the commentary that is made through these struggles. Empress of a Thousand Skies is and tries to reflect on our society…

Destined to Become a Classic: The Castle in the Mist by Amy Ephron

Destined to Become a Classic: The Castle in the Mist by Amy Ephron

Posted by on 02/24/2017 • 1 Comment

The Castle in the Mist is destined to become a classic. No question about it. It draws a lot of classic children’s literature tropes but somehow managed to create an entirely different narrative about families and the magic of nature. My literary analysis senses are tingling and I must stop myself from word-vomiting a bunch of off-topic stuff but seriously, THIS IS A BOOK I COULD write a 10 page paper about and have a lot of fun doing.

My biggest problem with the book doesn’t lie in the actual writing but in the fact that so many books like The Castle in the Mist exist yet all of them seem to feature only white children? Do not white children not deserve to be featured in gothic-y stories that are magical, mystical…