Posts Categorized: Review

Friday, March 30, 2018

Adventurous and Swoony: Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett

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Adventurous and Swoony: Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett
Starry Eyes
Genre: Adventure, Contemporary, YA
Publication date: April 3rd, 2018
by Simon Pulse

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Ever since last year’s homecoming dance, best friends-turned-best enemies Zorie and Lennon have made an art of avoiding each other. It doesn’t hurt that their families are the modern day, Californian version of the Montagues and Capulets.

But when a group camping trip goes south, Zorie and Lennon find themselves stranded in the wilderness. Alone. Together.

What could go wrong?

With no one but each other for company, Zorie and Lennon have no choice but to hash out their issues via witty jabs and insults as they try to make their way to safety. But fighting each other while also fighting off the forces of nature makes getting out of the woods in one piece less and less likely.

And as the two travel deeper into Northern California’s rugged backcountry, secrets and hidden feelings surface. But can Zorie and Lennon’s rekindled connection survive out in the real world? Or was it just a result of the fresh forest air and the magic of the twinkling stars?
-A copy was provided by Simon Pulse for review-

I’ve been reading Jenn Bennett for half a decade now and she’s been one of those authors I basically just read anything by. I don’t need a summary or acclaim, I JUST NEED BOOKS BY JENN BENNETT. This book had the added advantage of having an enemies-to-lovers/friends-to-lovers romance trope and an survival-esque story so like… yeah.

Unsurprisingly, I loved this book but I also got to buddy-read it with a close friend which made my experience reading it all the more better. But as anyone knows, loving a book doesn’t make writing a review any easier. It probably makes it a lot harder.

Zorie and Lennon used to be the best of friends and were on their way to becoming something more when something goes wrong. Now they go out of their way to ignore each other’s existence. Somehow though, they end up on a camping trip with the same group of people and now they must either play nice or continue trying to snip each others heads off. When their (obnoxious, imho) group packs up and leaves while they are sleeping, Zorie and Lennon are left alone to deal with their complicated feelings about each other and the WILDERNESS. THE GODDAMN WILDERNESS.

I’ve loved a good adventure/survival story since I was in elementary school and combined with a growing romance, Zorie and Lennon’s story is truly just incredibly charming and fun to read.

Like Bennett’s other stories, it also deals with more complicated issues than just first love. Before Zorie goes on her camping trip, she finds out that not everything she knows about her family is true and her dad is a cheating asshole. She might also just be the last person to find that out?

But, also like Bennett’s other stories, it comes with a slew of amazing secondary characters who hold our characters up and are there for them when things are not going so great. Zorie’s mom is amazing and both of Lennon’s moms are amazing. Even if we have one shitty parental figure, there are so many other ones to look up to.

Starry Eyes, like other novels by Jenn Bennett, is an ode to sweet, adorkable first love. It is also a heartwarming story of families, friendships and just following your dreams. If you don’t at the very least like it, there is a chance I will think something is seriously wrong with you.I cannot recommend it and everything else by Jenn Bennett enough and hope you will pick it up.

 

4.5 Stars
4.5 Hot Espressos

An Emotional 24 Hour Journey: I Have Lost My Way by Gayle Forman

An Emotional 24 Hour Journey: I Have Lost My Way by Gayle Forman

Posted by on 03/26/2018 • 0 Comments

I Have Lost My Way was my first book by Gayle Forman even though I’ve wanted to read a book by her for the past 5 years. I guess I am just going to have to go back and read more because I am in love with her writing style. I finished I Have Lost My Way feeling satisfied and warm gushiness from the good vibes in the book. However, upon hours of reflection, I can see that this book is not perfect for a number of reasons.

For starters, I was slightly uncomfortable with the way Forman wrote Harun’s story. Harun is a gay Pakistani-American. Throughout the book, we see his struggle with those identities and I felt like that struggle wasn’t really Forman’s to write about? I felt like she did…

Cute but Needs Work: How the Cowboy Was Won by Lori Wilde

Cute but Needs Work: How the Cowboy Was Won by Lori Wilde

Posted by on 03/16/2018 • 0 Comments

When one of my mutuals pointed out How the Cowboy Was Won was an Emma retelling, I was all aboard. I adore Jane Austen novels and I especially adore retellings of them. I don’t think I’ve seen many literary Emma retellings so it’s amusing that this year, there are two on my TBR!

So. Anyway. I have a complicated relationship with this book. There are parts of it I really liked but there were a bunch of things that rubbed me the wrong way and I haven’t seen many reviews talking about some of the things that bothered me which makes me more inclined to be critical. I want issues to be talked about. SO. ANYWAY. I am going to start with the good stuff first and break this review down…

The Book I Wish I Had When I Was in Middle School: Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi

The Book I Wish I Had When I Was in Middle School: Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi

Posted by on 03/14/2018 • 7 Comments

I never read Rick Riordan’s books. The short story is that there was no real reason to why I didn’t pick the books up. The longer (and a little pointless) story is that when The Lightning Thief first came out, it had a completely different cover then what it has now. I was in the middle school and our librarian told us all about it. I grew older but it stayed in the corner of my mind, I was in eternal search of the book with the white cover and never realized until a year ago (seriously!!!) that that book was the same one written by Rick Riordan that was so beloved now. Anyway, long pointless story short, I am weird and specific about what I read.

So I missed Rick…

The Intersectional Feminist Anthology We Need: The Radical Element edited by Jessica Spotswood

The Intersectional Feminist Anthology We Need: The Radical Element edited by Jessica Spotswood

Posted by on 03/09/2018 • 0 Comments

There was once a time when while reviewing an anthology, I would review every single story within it. I don’t do that anymore because 1. I am lazy but 2. I don’t think anyone really wants to read a review of EVERY SINGLE short story in an anthology because thats a lot to read and most people will pick an anthology up even if it has a couple mediocre short stories. Also, like, I do want to say I am definitely appreciative of the people who do review every single story and you guys are great. ANYWAY. The Radical Element is chockfull of some of the best YA writers right now and it ups the ante from A Tyranny of Petticoats. Tyranny certainly won my heart in 2016 but we still needed a…

All Five Stars: The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

All Five Stars: The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

Posted by on 03/08/2018 • 4 Comments

I am a finnick-y asshole when it comes to rating books 5 stars which isn’t necessarily because I don’t love books but I want to reserve that 5 stars for a book that is something that I am going to remember for a long time after I close the last page shut. The Poet X is just one of those books you are gonna come out of feeling something. I don’t share the same identities as the main character and yet the way Xiomara navigates her diaspora completely moved me. The way her story was told made me feel seen and validated.

The Poet X is told in verse and yet it tells an overarching story that I am not sure prose could have done justice to. Acevedo is a incredibly talented…

A Fierce Adventure: The Mad Wolf’s Daughter by Diane Magras

A Fierce Adventure: The Mad Wolf’s Daughter by Diane Magras

Posted by on 03/05/2018 • 0 Comments

I am garbage for a good middle grade adventure so when The Mad Wolf’s Daughter was pitched to me, I was on board and wanted to gobble this book up. Good thing it wasn’t disappointing, amirite?

Here is the thing, among the sea of commercial fiction that dominates Middle Grade books, The Mad Wolf’s Daughter doesn’t necessarily stand out but thats not really a good or bad thing? Familiar tropes and adventures are good things and just because The Mad Wolf’s Daughter isn’t necessarily //different// doesn’t mean that it is a bad book or a mediocre book?

The thing about tropes (at least in my opinion) is that it all comes down to how the author uses them to enhance their story. You’re never going to read a book that is free of tropes…

Centers the White Woman’s Experience: The Witch Doesn’t Burn in This One by Amanda Lovelace

Centers the White Woman’s Experience: The Witch Doesn’t Burn in This One by Amanda Lovelace

Posted by on 02/27/2018 • 3 Comments

Here is my thing with this short collection of poems. It’s good. It’s really good. It is also extremely creative and Lovelace’s talent really shines through with the poems. The problem I had and why I don’t actually know what to rate the collection of poems is that it also felt like it was very much the narrative of a white, cishet person.

Amanda Lovelace is a white woman which explains this and I wouldn’t ask her to write from a POC perspective when she really really REALLY cannot claim those experiences. She does try to not forget her non white cishet counterparts within her poems, which is appreciated but that doesn’t change the fact that the entire time I was reading the poems, I was painfully aware of my…