GLBTQ

Book Review: I'll Give You The Sun

I'll Give You The Sun
Author: 
Nelson, Jandy
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

When books have awards on the cover it doesn’t necessarily mean I’ll enjoy the book because the reviewers/critics are often adults and have a different perspective on teen/YA books. However “I’ll give you the Sun” actually lives up to the awards and reviews. This book has a complex plotthat weaves between the perspectives of Noah and Jude. Noah and Jude are twins who were always inseparable until high school and their mother’s death. Noah’s portions of the story are from before their mother’s death at age 13 and Jude’s perspective is from 16. Between the three years they both change dramatically, and you can see why they changed, and how everything became different. I really liked the title of the book, it fits the story without giving away too much. The characters are amazing, they all have depth, complexity, and a unique background, which drives the plot. This also made it easy to relate to the characters because they felt very real and human. Noah has a very clear way of seeing the world through color, and art. Jude sees the world through a very physical sense. It is pretty easy to get into this book and I found it hard to put down. This book has a great message of love and its complexities as well.

Reviewer's Name: 
McKenzie

Book Review: My Fairy Godmother Is a Drag Queen

My Fairy Godmother Is a Drag Queen
Author: 
Clawson, David
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

The book 'My Fairy Godmother is a Drag Queen' by David Clawson is a funny LGBT version of Cinderella. The main character Chris lives with his step-mother, step-sister, and step-brother who have recently lost their family wealth. The family wants to keep up with their rich lifestyle, and the best way to do that is to try to find his step-sister a wealthy boyfriend to marry, which they will do by attending a fancy ball. Chris's family does not buy him a ticket to the ball, but he meets a drag queen who helps him get into the ball. What happens when Chris meets the richest boy in the state and falls head over heels for him?
I thought this book was absolutely amazing! I would definitely give it five stars. It is very funny and entertaining, I spent hours reading this book without even moving because it was so captivating.

Reviewer's Name: 
Lillian L.

Book Review: The Upside of Unrequited

The Upside of Unrequited
Author: 
Albertalli, Becky
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

This book 'The Upside of Unrequited' is by the popular author Becky Albertalli, who also wrote 'Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda. This book follows Molly, a hopeless romantic who has never even had a boyfriend. When Molly introduces her twin sister, Cassie, to a new girl who Cassie may be developing a crush on, Molly realizes that she and her sister may be growing apart. This book goes through the journey where Molly struggles between her two new crushes, Will and Reid. The boys are very different... who will she end up with?
This book was absolutely amazing! A must-read for fans of 'Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda'. This book easily earns five stars.

Reviewer's Name: 
Lillian L.

Book Review: Pampered to Death

Book Cover
Author: 
Levine, Laura
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

Jaine Austen is relieved to receive a gift trip to the Haven, a luxury resort
along the California coast, from her flamboyantly gay neighbor Lance.
However, upon arriving there, she realizes that the Haven is a fat
farm in disguise run by Olga, the Diet Nazi (her words and not mine). She's
sharing her "luxury vacation" with Mallory Francis, a famous movie star, and
her staff. While gracing the big screens is Mallory's job, her true calling seems to
be making enemies with everyone she comes across. So when Mallory is found
strangled by a piece of kelp during a seaweed wrap, the suspect list is
longer than Rapunzel's hair with added extensions. Not wanting to spend any
longer in Diet Hell than necessary (and yes, she does call the Haven that),
Jaine puts on her detective slippers once again to catch a culprit once
again. However, this will prove to be Jaine's most challenging cases yet, and
her chase to catch the culprit will put her life on the line more than ever
before.

Let me just get this off my chest. I-love-this series! It's so well-written,
and never ceases to amuse me. I love how this series waits until later than
most for the murder to happen,making the reader make assumptions on who the
culprit is before the murder takes place. However, every book I've read from
this series so far has a major flaw. While the actual investigation for each
book is individually unique, the main climax always follows the same format.
It goes as follows:

1) Jaine is left with no clear culprit until she remembers a piece of
evidence she missed
2) The person who seems like the furthest thing from the culprit is always
the culprit
3) Just as Jaine finds the culprit, they try to kill her
4) Something saves Jaine last-minute
5) The culprit is arrested

This book is no different. I really wish Laura Levine would break away from
this format, as it makes the series very repetitive. However, I just hope she
does it in future mysteries. But overall, I'd highly recommend this mystery,
especially for a good laugh. The mystery kept me guessing while still keeping
me relaxed, Jaine Austen is the most relatable protagonist ever, the sub-plot
with her parents is hilarious in an "I really shouldn't be laughing at this"
kind of way, and Prozac is-well, Prozac! Just make sure to have something to
strangle with (noose, execution chain, chimichanga, whatever suits you),
because I assure you that no Jaine Austen mystery has made me want to
strangle Lance more than this one by the end. You have been warned.

Reviewer's Name: 
Naomi S.

Book Review: Starry Eyes

Book Review: Starry Eyes
Author: 
Bennett, Jenn
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

Zorie, a young girl who lives with her mother and father who are happily married; or so she thought they were happy. Zorie is suddenly struck with life altering information when her neighbor/ ex-best friend, Lennon hands her a manila envelope that had accidentally been delivered to the wrong house. Zorie is mortified when she opens it only to see photos of her dad with another woman, and is even more mortified that there was a possibility Lennon and his family had seen the photos too. Struggling to figure out what to do with the photos while juggling work and drama with friends, Zorie is all too happy to say yes when her best friend Reagan asks her to come on a camp trip. However, Zorie forgot about a previous commitment she made to go to the astronomy clubs stargazing party just one peak over from where Reagan's camp trip was. Wanting so badly to leave home for as long as possible and put her worries behind her Zorie decides she can do both, she will go on the camp trip and from there take a bus to Condor Peak for the star party. Zorie’s plans are turned a little upside down when Reagan picks her up for camping and Lennon is with her and some other familiar faces from school sitting in the back seat. Once they reach the campsite things take a turn for the worst when a fight between Reagan and Zorie ends up with Reagan and her other friends abandoning Zorie and Lennon in the middle of the night. Zorie and Lennon are then forced to talk about the past and all of the miscommunications that led them to hate each other as they hike their way to Condor Peak. This novel had a very intriguing plot, I loved the unpredictability of every page turn.

Reviewer's Name: 
Madison S.

Book Review: The Guinevere Deception

Book Review: The Guinevere Deception
Author: 
White, Kiersten
Rating: 
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review: 

Premise: Guinevere died in the convent where she'd been sent by an her father. An imposter, Merlin's daughter and Arthur's new protector, is her replacement, and all have been fooled into thinking she's the "real" Guinevere, save Arthur, who she immediately marries and starts to protect.

I found the beginning of the book, with its delicious hints of a larger story of evil and darkness, to be captivating. Unfortunately, those hints, for the most part, stay hints, and the book ended up being a pretty predictable retelling of sorts that was paradoxically too faithful and not faithful enough to its predecessors. It had glimpses of the humor from Mallory, T. H. White and Steinbeck. It had the promise of the adventure that lies in those tales. It just never fully delivered. And the end, when it finally came, was predictable enough to be a bit disappointing.

That said, I do love Arthurian legend, and this version of Guinevere is not without promise. If the next entry gets great reviews, I'll give it a go as my familiarity with the characters and story would render a re-read unnecessary. 3 stars. I...liked it? I'll recommend it to younger readers new to the legend.

Thanks to Netgalley and Delacorte for the advance copy which I received in exchange for an unbiased review. The Guinevere Deception will be on sale on 05 November, but you can put your copy on hold today!

Reviewer's Name: 
Britt

Book Review: A River of Royal Blood

Book Review: A River of Royal Blood
Author: 
Joy, Amanda
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

Eva's nameday is coming up. And on that day, she'll become a Rival Heir. From then on, she'll be expected to try to kill her sister (or die in the process), so that one of them could take the throne. Eva's always been her father's favorite, but in this matriarchal society, her mother, the Queen, who, of course favores Eva's sister Isadore, would do anything to make sure that Eva doesn't get the throne. Including helping Isa with her magic while trying to keep Eva from accessing hers. But the throne is Eva's destiny. It's that, or death.

This was another instance of the plot being hard to describe, though that's mostly due to the fact that there are so many things happening in this book. It's pretty complicated. Not in a bad way - I really enjoyed it. The worldbuilding was very cool, I loved the khimaer. A lot of it was new to me, or a fun twist on a familiar concept. I loved the book's mythology. Something about it felt fresh. I also bizarrely really liked the middle part of the book - its full of layered mysteries, court intrigue, training montages and the right amount and type of romance. It's built on mutual and earned respect (and yes, hotness). There's a lot to like in this book, and it won't be the last by this author that I read.

That said, the beginning and ending were rote and felt a bit weak. The end, in particular, felt like it existed only to get you to read the next installment. There was no resolution, and it felt very rushed, especially after a story that was otherwise taking its time unfolding. I don't want to spend a lot of time criticizing what was otherwise a fun read - give it a go!

TLDR: This was so close to being really good, but it just missed the mark (rote beginning and ending, super strong middle and worldbuilding). I quite enjoyed it, nonetheless. 3.5 stars - I almost really liked it. :)

Thanks for the eARC Netgalley and Putnam for the advance copy! A River of Royal Blood will be available for purchase on 29 October, but you can put your copy on hold today.

Reviewer's Name: 
Britt

Book Review: War Girls

Book Review: War Girls
Author: 
Onyebuchi, Tochi
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

Onyii and Ify live as sisters in an all-girls refugee/war camp on the edge of the Redlands, an area riddled with radiation from a long-ago nuclear disaster. Nigeria, their home, is in the midst of a civil war. Children are conscripted as soldiers and pilots for mechanized warrior robots. Onyii and Ify are separated, and as truths are revealed to each of them, they must decide where, and with whom, their loyalties lie all while trying not to die a terrible death in a bloody civil war.

Going into this, I knew nothing about the Nigeria - Biafran civil war of the 1960s, which is at the heart of this novel. Personally, I enjoy learning about parts of history that I know nothing about (I typically don’t gravitate to one of the 1,983,784,767 WWII novels, for example), and I really enjoyed the unique setting. The book is set in the future, and the futuristic elements really added a lot to the plot and were well employed by the author. Onyii, for example, is an Augment, meaning that she’s a little bit of a bionic woman. While I didn’t really relate to the main characters, I did really like them. They didn’t always make the best decisions, but their decisions made sense to their characters and their respective arcs. They were easy to root for. Really, my only complaint was that it felt overlong, and I skimmed through some of the battle scenes, but that’s more a matter of personal preference.

TLDR: Looking for something to read after Children of Blood and Bone? You’ve found your next great Nigerian inspired read! (And, honestly, if you haven’t read Children of Blood and Bone but it’s on your TBR, I’d suggest replacing it with War Girls, which is a much more original, engaging book). For readers who like apocalyptic novels and futuristic sci-fi battles. 4 stars.

Thanks to Netgalley and Razorbill for the eARC which I received in exchange for an honest review. War Girls will be available for purchase on 15 October, but you can put your copy on hold today!

Reviewer's Name: 
Britt

Book Review: Drama

Book Review: Drama
Author: 
Telgemeier, Raina
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

This was a very sweet book. The three things I liked best about it were the following:
1. It was a play within a play.
2. A character breaks up with his girlfriend because she was trying to get someone to cheat on a test.
3. The main character doesn't give a second chance to the boy who disrespected her.
It's a lighthearted book that addresses some deep themes and is fun to read.

Reviewer's Name: 
vfranklyn

Book Review: The Monster of Elendhaven

Author: 
Giesbrecht, Jennifer
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

The Monster of Elendhaven follows two characters – Johann, the eponymous monster, and Florian, a mage that ultimately forces him to do his bidding. Mages are forbidden to exist in Elendhaven, and the locals in power kill Florian’s family, so Florian is out for revenge. And he’ll use Johann to ensure he gets it.

It’s rare that I wish a book was longer, but that’s definitely the case here. The worldbuilding was spectacular, as was the prose, but the plot was pretty basic, and the end jarring. I could have spent much longer in this dark, twisted world with our dark, twisted characters. I kept thinking of Patrick Suskind’s book, Perfume: A Story of a Murderer, as both of our characters were somewhat similar to the protagonist of that book. There’s a romance that I wouldn’t have minded so much, but again, it wasn’t given time to breathe in this short little novel.

TLDR: This book is nasty in that deliciously evil sort of way. If that’s your thing, you’ll love it. I wish it were a bit longer.

3.5 stars. Thanks to NetGalley and Tor for the eARC, which I received in exchange for an unbiased review.

Reviewer's Name: 
Britt

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