The Drifter By: Christine Lennon | Book Review

The Drifter
By: Christine Lennon
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Mystery
Rating: 2.5 stars
Release Date: February 14, 2017
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Synopsis:

Megan Abbott meets M.O. Walsh in Christine Lennon’s compelling debut novel about a group of friends on the cusp of graduating from college when their lives are irrevocably changed by a brutal act of violence.

Present Day…

For two decades, Elizabeth has tried to escape the ghosts of her past…tried to erase the painful memories…tried to keep out the terrifying nightmares. But twenty years after graduating from the University of Florida, her carefully curated life begins to unravel, forcing her to confront the past she’s tried so hard to forget.

1990s, Gainesville, Florida…

Elizabeth and her two closest friends, Caroline and Ginny, are having the time of their lives in college—binge watching Oprah, flirting for freebies from Taco Bell, and breaking hearts along the way. But without warning, their world is suddenly shattered when a series of horrific acts of violence ravage the campus, changing their lives forever.

Sweeping readers from the exclusive corners of sorority life in the South to the frontlines of the drug-fueled, slacker culture in Manhattan in the ‘90s and early ‘00s, when Elizabeth is forced to acknowledge her role in the death of a friend in order to mend a broken friendship and save her own life, The Drifter is an unforgettable story about the complexities of friendships and the secrets that can ultimately destroy us.

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Bleeding Earth by: Kaitlin Ward | Review

Bleeding Earth

By: Kaitlin Ward

Genre: LBGT,  G/G Romance, YA, Contemporary, Fantasy, Horror Fiction

Rating: 3.5 stars

Release Date: February 9, 2016

Publisher: Adaptive Books

I received an ARC of this book forever ago from the publisher in a giveaway.

Synopsis:

Lea was in a cemetery when the earth started bleeding. Within twenty-four hours, the blood made international news. All over the world, blood appeared out of the ground, even through concrete, even in water. Then the earth started growing hair and bones.

Lea wants to ignore the blood. She wants to spend time with her new girlfriend, Aracely, in public, if only Aracely wasn’t so afraid of her father. Lea wants to be a regular teen again, but the blood has made her a prisoner in her own home. Fear for her social life turns into fear for her sanity, and Lea must save herself and Aracely whatever way she can.

Book Review:

With blood oozing out of the ground,soon filing the streets, taking over life as the world knows it, and turning people into mean, and aggressive scavenging mobs, I thought Bleeding Earth was a interesting choice to post a review on for Valentine’s Day. In my own, quirk of ironic humor, I chose this YA, horror book centering on this young, lesbian teenager with this secret girlfriend as my “token” romance piece for this lover/couple fest holiday.

Besides the enjoyment reviewing a mainly horror driven book for Valentine’s Day, I was really excited to finally crack open this book. I am not a natural horror book reader so I really excited that I could get through this book pretty easily. The content of the blood and the rapid urgency of it’s danger and affect on the entire world was pretty difficult to get through at times, but the author does a great job of tampering some of the gorish details by means of filtering the spiral of civilization through the ever hopeful, love sick and wildly observant eyes of Lea.

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Dragon Springs Road By: Janie Chang | Book Review

Dragon Springs Road
By: Janie Chang
Genre: Historical,  Contemporary Fiction, Chinese Folklore, Coming of Age, Fantasy
Rating: 4.5 stars
Release Date: January 10, 2017
Synopsis:

From the author of Three Souls comes a vividly imagined and haunting new novel set in early 20th century Shanghai—a story of friendship, heartbreak, and history that follows a young Eurasian orphan’s search for her long-lost mother. That night I dreamed that I had wandered out to Dragon Springs Road all on my own, when a dreadful knowledge seized me that my mother had gone away never to return . . .

In 1908, Jialing is only seven years old when she is abandoned in the courtyard of a once-lavish estate outside Shanghai. Jialing is zazhong—Eurasian—and faces a lifetime of contempt from both Chinese and Europeans. Until now she’s led a secluded life behind courtyard walls, but without her mother’s protection, she can survive only if the estate’s new owners, the Yang family, agree to take her in.

Jialing finds allies in Anjuin, the eldest Yang daughter, and Fox, an animal spirit who has lived in the courtyard for centuries. But Jialing’s life as the Yangs’ bondservant changes unexpectedly when she befriends a young English girl who then mysteriously vanishes.

Murder, political intrigue, jealousy, forbidden love … Jialing confronts them all as she grows into womanhood during the tumultuous early years of the Chinese republic, always hopeful of finding her long-lost mother. Through every turn she is guided, both by Fox and by her own strength of spirit, away from the shadows of her past toward a very different fate, if she has the courage to accept it.

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Juliet Takes A Breath by: Gabby Rivera | Review

Juliet Takes A Breath
By: Gabby Rivera
Rating: 4 stars
Genre: LGBTQ+ fiction, YA,Contemporary, Feminism
Release Date: January 27, 2016

All of the women in my life were telling me the same thing. My story, my truth, my life, my voice, all of that had to be protected and put out into the world by me. No one else. No one could take that from me. I had to let go of my fear. I didn’t know what I was afraid of. I wondered if I’d ever speak my truth.” – Juliet Takes a Breath.

Synopsis:

Juliet Milagros Palante is leaving the Bronx and headed to Portland, Oregon. She just came out to her family and isn’t sure if her mom will ever speak to her again. But Juliet has a plan, sort of, one that’s going to help her figure out this whole “Puerto Rican lesbian” thing. She’s interning with the author of her favorite book: Harlowe Brisbane, the ultimate authority on feminism, women’s bodies, and other gay-sounding stuff.

Will Juliet be able to figure out her life over the course of one magical summer? Is that even possible? Or is she running away from all the problems that seem too big to handle? With more questions than answers, Juliet takes on Portland, Harlowe, and most importantly, herself.

Book Review:

I think the problem I had with writing this review was the fact that there was so much I wanted to say, so much that this book says, so many people out there in the world who I think needs to read and those who have simply ached for a book like this. If I could quote this entire book in this review right now, I would. As Raging Flower was to Juliet’s character, Juliet Takes A Breath will be to me.

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Orphan Train by: Christina Baker Kline | Book Review

Orphan Train
By: Christina Baker Kline
Rating: 3 stars
Genre: Historical Fiction, Coming of Age, Literary Fiction
Release Date: April 2, 2013
 

Synopsis:

The author of Bird in Hand and The Way Life Should Be delivers her most ambitious and powerful novel to date: a captivating story of two very different women who build an unexpected friendship: a 91-year-old woman with a hidden past as an orphan-train rider and the teenage girl whose own troubled adolescence leads her to seek answers to questions no one has ever thought to ask.

Nearly eighteen, Molly Ayer knows she has one last chance. Just months from “aging out” of the child welfare system, and close to being kicked out of her foster home, a community service position helping an elderly woman clean out her home is the only thing keeping her out of juvie and worse.

Vivian Daly has lived a quiet life on the coast of Maine. But in her attic, hidden in trunks, are vestiges of a turbulent past. As she helps Vivian sort through her possessions and memories, Molly discovers that she and Vivian aren’t as different as they seem to be. A young Irish immigrant orphaned in New York City, Vivian was put on a train to the Midwest with hundreds of other children whose destinies would be determined by luck and chance.

The closer Molly grows to Vivian, the more she discovers parallels to her own life. A Penobscot Indian, she, too, is an outsider being raised by strangers, and she, too, has unanswered questions about the past. As her emotional barriers begin to crumble, Molly discovers that she has the power to help Vivian find answers to mysteries that have haunted her for her entire life – answers that will ultimately free them both.

Rich in detail and epic in scope, Orphan Train is a powerful novel of upheaval and resilience, of second chances, of unexpected friendship, and of the secrets we carry that keep us from finding out who we are.

Book Review:

Told from two different perspectives between the past and the present, spanning from the early 1900s to 2011, I had certain  expectations when I started Orphan Train. However, I must admit that when I finished this book my thoughts were a mixture of empathy, scrutiny, disbelief and admiration in contrast to the two main characters Molly and Vivian.

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Soul Blade (The Sword Of Light Trilogy #3) by: Aaron Hodges | Audiobook Review

Soul Blade (The Sword Of Light Book #3)
Narrator(s):David Stifel
Unabridged Audiobook: 9 hrs and 38 mins
Rating: 3 stars
Genre: Magic, YA Fantasy, Adventure, Mythology
Release Date: December 5, 2016
I Graciously Received A Copy Of This Book In Exchange For An Honest Review

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible

Synopsis:
The Three Nations are crumbling. Darkness is gathering. Only one remains to stand against it. Eric stumbles through the wilderness, searching, hunting – desperate for  sign of his sister. But the girl is gone, stolen away by the power of  the Soul Blade. With each passing hour its hold on her tightens, her spirit fading before the onslaught of its magic.

If he cannot save her soon, it will claim her soul. And he will have to kill her.

Meanwhile, Gabriel is lost in the darkness. It is his whole world now, its presence absolute, suffocating. Time, hope, sanity, all have long since slipped beneath the waves of his despair. Only it remains – the  unrelenting voice of the demon. It haunts the darkness, mocking him with false promises of freedom.

How long can he resist its call?

Audiobook Review

Having the world and all the heroes pitted in such a thick cloud of darkness and doubt for the final chapter of this trilogy made this audiobook really enjoyable. Characters/heroes are only as good as how they react under such disparaging circumstances. I found that Eric’s character really seemed to come full circle in this last book as he and Anala find their way back to each other and the rest of their group while doing all that they can to learn to control the strength and weakness within their magic.

Though I was still not a fan of Eric and Inka’s relationship (that has always felt more like a siblings/close friend relationship) I do contribute a lot of his character growth to the support she’s given him throughout this series. With high fantasy/adventure stories like The Sword Of Light Trilogy I think it can be hard to really immerse yourself within these stories if the narrator does not bring a sense of animation and layer personality to the story.

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We Should All Be Feminists by: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie [Review]

We Should All Be Feminists
By: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Rating: 4.5 stars
Genre: Writing, Non-Fiction, Feminism, Essays, Social Justice
Release Date: July 29, 2014

Synopsis:

An eBook short.

What does “feminism” mean today? That is the question at the heart of We Should All Be Feminists, a personal, eloquently-argued essay—adapted from her much-viewed TEDx talk of the same name—by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the award-winning author of Americanah and Half of a Yellow Sun.

With humor and levity, here Adichie offers readers a unique definition of feminism for the twenty-first century—one rooted in inclusion and awareness. She shines a light not only on blatant discrimination, but also the more insidious, institutional behaviors that marginalize women around the world, in order to help readers of all walks of life better understand the often masked realities of sexual politics. Throughout, she draws extensively on her own experiences—in the U.S., in her native Nigeria, and abroad—offering an artfully nuanced explanation of why the gender divide is harmful for women and men, alike.

Argued in the same observant, witty and clever prose that has made Adichie a bestselling novelist, here is one remarkable author’s exploration of what it means to be a woman today—and an of-the-moment rallying cry for why we should all be feminists

 

Book Review

Though rooted in the backdrop of Nigerian culture, We Should All Be Feminists offers not only a universal reach, but a current perspective when it comes to gender inequality. Like others who have come across this little gem, I found this book insightful, thought provoking and relatable.

Though the hurdles and restrictions I face in America differ from that of Nigeria, it was difficult to read the way in which a mere class monitor position (that she rightfully earned) when she was 9-years-old was passed over to a boy in her class based solely on fact that her classmate was male. Being born with a quick mind and an even quicker tongue, I doubt that without the years of practicing the act of counting to ten (sometimes five) in my head that I would be able to respond or graciously address the systematic gender injustice Adichie describes.

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Audiobook Review: In the Country We Love: My Family Divided by Diane Guerrero

In The Country We Love: My Family Divided
By: Diane Guerrero
Narrator(s): Diane Guerrero
Genre: Nonfiction, Memoir, Autobiography,  Politics, Immigration, Social Injustice
Rating: 3.5 stars
Publisher: Audible Studios
Length: 9 Hrs and 10 Min
Type: Unabridged Audiobook
Release Date: May 3rd 2016
Synopsis:
Diane Guerrero, the television actress from the megahit Orange is the New Black and Jane the Virgin, was just fourteen years old on the day her parents and brother were arrested and deported while she was at school. Born in the U.S., Guerrero was able to remain in the country and continue her education, depending on the kindness of family friends who took her in and helped her build a life and a successful acting career for herself, without the support system of her family.
In the Country We Love is a moving, heartbreaking story of one woman’s extraordinary resilience in the face of the nightmarish struggles of undocumented residents in this country.
There are over 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the US, many of whom have citizen children, whose lives here are just as precarious, and whose stories haven’t been told. Written with Michelle Burford, this memoir is a tale of personal triumph that also casts a much-needed light on the fears that haunt the daily existence of families likes the author’s and on a system that fails them over and over.

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