Publisher: HarperTeen


Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Man-Hunting WHALES: And the Ocean Was Our Sky by Patrick Ness

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Man-Hunting WHALES: And the Ocean Was Our Sky by Patrick Ness
And the Ocean Was Our Sky
Patrick Ness
Genre: Adventure, Middle Grade
Publication date: September 4th, 2018
by HarperTeen

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With harpoons strapped to their backs, the proud whales of Bathsheba's pod live for the hunt, fighting in the ongoing war against the world of men. When they attack a ship bobbing on the surface of the Abyss, they expect to find easy prey. Instead, they find the trail of a myth, a monster, perhaps the devil himself...

As their relentless Captain leads the chase, they embark on a final, vengeful hunt, one that will forever change the worlds of both whales and men.

With the lush, atmospheric art of Rovina Cai woven in throughout, this remarkable work by Patrick Ness turns the familiar tale of Moby Dick upside down and tells a story all its own with epic triumph and devastating fate.
 
-A copy was provided by HarperTeen for review-

I think we need to get one thing clear right off the bat and that is that this book, And the Ocean Was Our Sky is fucking weird. And the Ocean Was Our Sky follows Bathsheba, who happens to be a whale. This book is 110% literary middle grade fiction and at times feels like it is trying too hard but you know what, I still thought it was great.

The entire time I was reading it, I couldn’t quite wrap my head around how weird it was that we had a whale narrator whose voice read very much like a human but also, the humans were the enemy. I definitely had no issues with the humans being the enemies since we all know humans suck but it was still jarring to have that contradiction and I get the feeling Ness basically did that on purpose to fuck with us because he likes doing that (if you’ve read any of his other books, you will know that he has a PhD in messing with his readers emotions.)

So anyway. Bathsheba is a whale and being a whale is great. BUT it actually isn’t because she saw her fam get slaughtered by humans and that is no bueno. For so long she has been driven by her drive to get revenge but when her pod imprisons a human to get information on the very devil itself, Bathsheba is conflicted. Especially as she gets to know this human better and starts to feel for him.

…We are taking a quick intermission to make it clear that this novel isn’t about a romance between a whale and a human. IT ISN’T THE BEE MOVIE. WE CAN ALL CHILL. Anyway, back to the review…

I really did insult this book earlier by saying its trying to hard but And the Ocean Was Our Sky truly is a beautiful read. For a book about a whale, it sure has a lot to say about human nature and human emotions. I know for a fact I’d appreciate it even more if I had read Moby Dick so I could truly enjoy how Ness was subverting the original text to create something maybe even more powerful. Regardless, it isn’t the end of the world that I haven’t read it (I do want to now) or if you haven’t read it. And the Ocean Was Our Sky holds up quite well on its own and is definitely worth your time if you’re the sort of person to enjoy books about whales that are actually reflections on human nature.

4 Stars
4 Hot Espressos

Adorable and Emotional: A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi

Adorable and Emotional: A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi

Posted by on 10/24/2018 • 2 Comments

A Very Large Expanse of Sea is my first Tahereh Mafi book and I definitely hope it won’t be last. Reviewing this one is particularly hard because it was one of those books I ADORED while reading but a couple hours of reflection definitely allowed me to pick up on several holes within the plot and various arcs of the story.

The book hits on a particularly complex social issue that’s about as relevant today as it was two decades ago – islamophobia. This book is an #ownvoices tale and particularly so in that it is very much inspired by Mafi’s own experiences growing up after 9/11. One of my favorite things about this book is that sometimes, even when the sentences aren’t perfect or I have issues with…

Giveaway: Hidden Pieces by Paula Stokes

Giveaway: Hidden Pieces by Paula Stokes

Posted by on 07/16/2018 • 10 Comments

Hi guys! We are huge fans of Paula Stokes over here so we’re really honored and excited to be bringing you a giveaway for Paula’s latest book! It’s a return to mystery and it sounds amazing! Turning over to Paula now!

Paula: Hi peeps 🙂 A big thank you to Rashika and Giselle for having me on Xpresso Reads to talk about my forthcoming mystery, HIDDEN PIECES, releasing on Aug 28. Of course there is a giveaway, but first here’s a little info about the book in case you’re unfamiliar.

Character Profiles

Embry:

Embry Woods is an 18-year-old girl who likes photography and the ocean, but isn’t sure what she’s going to do after she graduates from high school. Her mom is recovering from breast cancer, and even…

Summer Road Trip: Mariam Sharma Hits the Road by Sheba Karim

Summer Road Trip: Mariam Sharma Hits the Road by Sheba Karim

Posted by on 06/25/2018 • 0 Comments

That Thing We Call a Heart was one of my favorite books of 2017 so obviously, when I heard about Mariam Sharma Hits the Road, I was ecstatic and ready to dive in. This review is particularly hard because even though, overall, I definitely enjoyed Mariam Sharma Hits the Road, there were times when I felt let down by some of the things the characters said.

I am grappling for words as I attempt to describe my feelings because I want to be respectful and clear that these experiences aren’t invalid but one of the biggest dichotomy in the book is how Mariam is raised vs how her friends are raised. Mariam grew up in a household that wasn’t religious or super connected to their cultural roots and her mom was super…

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 incredibly talented to…

Giveaway: Girl Against the Universe by Paula Stokes

Giveaway: Girl Against the Universe by Paula Stokes

Posted by on 05/19/2017 • 23 Comments

Hi everyone! Today we are partnering with Paula Stokes to giveaway a copy GIRL AGAINST THE UNIVERSE to one lucky winner! GIRL AGAINST THE UNIVERSE was one of my favorite books of 2016 and honestly such an important book. It does such a great job talking about mental health issues and also has an incredibly swoony romance.

 

About the Book

Paula: Hi everyone! Girl Against the Universe releases in paperback on June 6, 2017 and I’m so excited about that I decided to do an entire blog tour of giveaways to celebrate! In the story, main character Maguire creates her own list of seven challenges to help her overcome her fears. This week I have seven challenges for you, and seven chances to win a shiny GATU paperback 😀 These…

Heartfelt Coming of Age Novel: That Thing We Call a Heart by Sheba Karim

Heartfelt Coming of Age Novel: That Thing We Call a Heart by Sheba Karim

Posted by on 05/12/2017 • 1 Comment

Sometimes there are books you read and you love and then sometimes there are books you read and FUCKING LOVE. As you might be able to gather given my subtle opening line, That Thing We Call a Heart falls into the latter category for me.

I honestly don’t even know how to express all the love I feel for the book into this review because I doubt that is even possible. Perhaps I might use this gif:

Or I could use words but as I told my prof the other day when he suggested I do a creative writing project, I am not a writer so if this review is completely incoherent, know that I honestly tried.

That Thing We Call a Heart is a book that needs to be in…

Review: What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler

Review: What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler

Posted by on 10/02/2015 • 5 Comments

You know how I would describe “being speechless” by something? It’s when you’re overwhelmed with so much emotions that words escape you. Something made you happy so much that you could only cry. Something made you so sad that your throat tightens and you can croak nothing out. Something made you so angry that find it hard to mutter a single word because you’re just fuming inside. This is basically what happened to me after reading What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler. It rendered me completely speechless.

I honestly don’t know how to review this book, if I can even review this book and give it the justice it deserves. It’s the sort that you know everyone – and I mean, everyone – should read; the sort in which when people ask you why…