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text 2019-01-18 22:07
Reading progress update: I've read 224 out of 224 pages.
Sheets - Brenna Thummler

So cute

 

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2019-01-17 22:00
Book Review : The poet x Elizabeth agevedo
the poet x - elizabeth agevedo

Jan 4-12

A young girl in Harlem discovers slam poetry as a way to understand her mother’s religion and her own relationship to the world. Debut novel of renowned slam poet Elizabeth Acevedo.

Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. Ever since her body grew into curves, she has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking.

But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, and she pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers—especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, who her family can never know about. With Mami’s determination to force her daughter to obey the laws of the church, Xiomara understands that her thoughts are best kept to herself.

So when she is invited to join her school’s slam poetry club, she doesn’t know how she could ever attend without her mami finding out, much less speak her words out loud. But still, she can’t stop thinking about performing her poems.

Because in the face of a world that may not want to hear her, Xiomara refuses to be silent


Review : I loved this book I highly reccomend the audiobook . Xiomara is a teenager who is going through a lot her body has changed a lot her mother has all these religious views and xiomara doesn't know what she believes anymore she meets this guy who she really likes but shit goes real when her mom finds out . this book is told in verse and I love verse books and the audiobook is read by the author and it was a beautifully written book . Xiomara finds out her twin brother is gay . Xiomara joins the poetry club where she gets to let out her emotions . after a big blow up with her family Xiomara calls the guy again and they start talking again . And she has her family priest help with her family to help them all talk this out . Xiomara finally performs her poem at the slam event . I believe everyone she read this book .

Quotes :And I think about all the things we could be 
if we were told our bodies were not built for them


When your body takes up more room than your voice you are always the target of well-aimed rumors,

“And isn't that what a poem is? A lantern glowing in the dark.

 

 

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review 2019-01-17 19:57
Fawkes
Fawkes - Nadine Brandes

[I received a copy of this book through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.]

Gorgeous cover (I admit the cover + the title are what drew me to the book in the first place), and also an interesting take on historical events by showing them under the colours (see what I did there) of magic rather than religion. In this alternate early 17th-century world, people are able to bond with a specific colour, and exert control over items of this colour through the wearing of a mask. The conflict arises from how people view the use of colours: Keepers (the ‘Protestants’) believe that a person should only master one colour and not give in to the ‘White Light’ that governs them all, lest greed devours them and twists their powers to nefarious ends; while Igniters (the ‘Catholics’) believe that listening to the White Light, and controlling more than one colour, is the way to go. Both factions are in conflict not only because of these views, but because of a plague that turns people to stone, with each camp blaming the other for the advent of this mysterious illness.

Enters our protagonist and point of view character, Thomas Fawkes, son of the (now) infamous Guy Fawkes, who’s been struck by this very Stone Plague and can’t wait until he gets a mask of his own, learns to master a colour, and hopefully manages to heal himself, or at least make sure the plague will stay dormant in him and never spread further than his eye. Of course, things don’t go as planned, and as he finds himself reunited with his father, the latter offers him a place in a plot meant to blow up the King and Parliament (as in, literally blow up, re: Guy Fawkes, Bonfire Night, and all that).

So. Very, very interesting premise, and I really loved reading about the London that is the backdrop in this novel—not least because I actually go very often in the areas depicted here, and I enjoy retracing in my mind the characters’ steps in streets that I know well enough. Little winks are found here and there, too, such as Emma’s favourite bakery on Pudding Lane, or a stroll to the Globe. It may not seem much, but it always makes me smile.

The story was a slow development, more focused on the characters than on a quick unfolding of the plot. I don’t know if the latter is a strong or a weak point, because I feel it hinges on the reader’s knowledge of the actual Gunpowder Plot: if you know about it, then I think what matters more is not its outcome, but the journey to it, so to speak. If you don’t know it, though, the novel may in turn feel weak in that regard, by not covering it enough. I didn’t mind this slow development, since it allowed for room for the side plot with Emma and the Baron’s household, and I liked Emma well enough. I still can’t decide whether her secret felt genuine or somewhat contrived, but in the end, it didn’t matter so much, because she was a kickass person, with goals of her own, and actually more interesting than Thomas.

As a side note: yes, there is romance here. Fortunately, no gratuitous kiss and sex scenes that don’t bring anything to the story and only waste pages. In spite of the blurb that mentions how Thomas will have to choose between the plot and his love (= usually, a sure recipe for catastrophe in YA, with characters basically forgetting the meaning of things like “priorities” or “sense of responsibility”), it is more subtle than that. Thomas at least also starts considering other people being involved, such as, well, the three hundred Members of Parliament meant to go up in flames along with the King. Casualties, and all that…

Bonus points for White Light, who we don’t see much of, but was overall engaging and somewhat funny in a quirky way. I just liked its interventions, period.

Where I had more trouble with the story was Thomas himself, who was mostly whiny and obsessed with getting his mask. All the time. You’d get to wonder why his father trusted him and invited him to be part of the plot in the first place. Often enough, he came as self-centered and constantly wavering in his beliefs. While I can totally understand that the prospect of his plague suddenly spreading left him in a state of constant, nagging fear, and therefore prone to focus on this more than on other people’s interests, the way he hesitated between which way to pursue (stay faithful to the plot, or listen to the White Light, or shouldn’t he listen to his father, but then are his father’s beliefs really his own as well, etc.) was a bit tedious to go through. Good thing Emma was here to set his sight straights, and by this, I don’t mean showing him the light (OK, OK, I should stop with the puns now), but making him aware that her circumstances are more complicated than he thinks, in his own ‘privileged’ way, even though his being plagued does contribute to a common understanding of being immediately rejected because of what one looks like.

Also, let’s be honest, Guy wasn’t exactly Father of the Year either, and the story didn’t focus much on developing his ties with Thomas. They were united through the plot, but that was pretty much all, when this could’ve been a wonderful opportunity to reunite them differently, in deeper ways, too. There just wasn’t enough about him, about his personality, and in turn, this lessened the impact of Thomas’ decisions when it came to him.

Another issue for me was the magic system. I got the broad lines, and the reason for the Keepers/Igniters divide, but apart from that, we weren’t shown how exactly this magic works. It is, I’m sure, more subtle than simply voicing an order to a specific colour, and there seems to be a whole undercurrent of rules to it, that aren’t really explained. For instance, why can the masks only be carved by the biological father or mother of a person, and not by an adoptive parent (or even by anyone else)?

Mention in passing as well to language: sometimes, it veered into too modern territory (I mean 20/21st-century modern English specifically, not ‘but Shakespeare’s English was technically Modern English, too’ ;)). I think it was especially prevalent in Thomas’ discussions with White Light, and I found this jarring.

Conclusion: 3 stars, as I still liked the story overall, as well as the world depicted in it, despite the questions I still have about it. I was hoping for a stronger story, though.

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review 2019-01-16 22:02
Book Blitz: The Devil’s Pact by V. S. McGrath with Giveaway

The Devil’s Pact
V. S. McGrath

(The Devil’s Revolver #3)

Publication date: December 18th 2018
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

Hold on to your hats — the Devil’s Revolver series is back with an evil twin, deep magic, zombies, menacing grand balls, a train heist, hand-to-hand high-stakes battles, and two sisters who have grown in their power to face and fight the end of the Weird West.

If Hettie Alabama could do what she was told and stand down . . . she might not anyway. Especially when the letters her sister sends from her place of hiding don’t seem quite right, and Hettie’s posse is tying her hands tighter by the day. She’s itching to take the safety off her cursed mage gun, the Devil’s Revolver, and walk through the fire to end the reign of evil that’s choking the magic out of the West—not to mention save her sister once and for all.

The only problem? Hettie’s name is in the headlines and on every wanted poster in the nation—but she’s not the one robbing banks and killing innocents, even if the pictures look just like her. She’s up to her chin in high-necked gowns and beauty glamors, charged with fulfilling her word to the influential Favreau family of New Orleans, even as it becomes increasingly clear that they want only to consolidate the world’s waning magic in the hands of the rich and powerful. The politics get more personal as the most loyal of Hettie’s gang uncover the threat of an immoderate technology that steals magic from the unwitting innocent and transfers it to the nefarious elite.

Hettie has no choice but to go rogue, and when she drops a black hat over her brow, the Devil’s Revolver’s trigger glows hot. The Devil’s Pact stampedes from San Francisco’s Chinatown tongs through the glittering high society of Chicago to the hidden swamps of the Deep South in its search for truth, genuine justice, and an end to a world that refuses to recognize the power and change wrought by girls.

 
EXCERPT
 
She clambered over the rooftops, jumping the gaps between buildings with relative ease, since they were so close together. She spotted a large canvas-covered cart in the street pulled by four ragged horses. It was one of those old covered wagons like they used back when settlers were still making their way across the country, and it looked out of place in the city. Hettie climbed down a fire escape, but as she wove through traffic, the time bubble popped—
 
Suddenly, she was smack-dab in the middle of oncoming traffic. A man shouted and hauled on his reins. His hansom cab buckled violently, and the horse reared. Hettie scampered out of the way of its hooves and directly into the path of another cart. The man’s horses faltered and tried to skirt around her, but then the cart they were pulling plowed into them, and they whinnied in panic, veering to the side and crashing into another rider.
 
Hettie ran toward the covered wagon, summoning Diablo and trying to re-establish the time bubble. No good. The same thing had happened during the train robbery.
 
A man peeked out of the covered wagon. He shouted and drew his sidearm. Hettie zigzagged to avoid the gunshots and pulled Diablo’s trigger, unleashing a blast of green power that incinerated the man’s arm up to his shoulder.
 
Two more men appeared with rifles. Hettie ducked left and rolled behind a cart as the bullets bit into the cab, showering her with splinters. The passengers within screamed.
 
Traffic ground to a halt and people dove out of their vehicles while the drivers tried to get their horses under control. The covered wagon surged forward and plowed through the street while the men in the back continued an assault on the cab Hettie hid behind.
 
She had to stop that wagon.
 
She whipped around the corner and fired. Diablo let out a wide beam of power that took out the right two wheels. The wagon collapsed with a loud crash, sending up a wake of splinters. The whole right side of the wagon tore off, and the canopy ripped away from the U-shaped frame as it snapped up like angry fish spines.
 
People screamed as carts, drivers and pedestrians tried to escape the gunfire and chaos. Horses thrashed and reared, whinnying as the vehicles piled up. Hettie ran toward the wagon.
 
It was empty. Unless Dr. Fielding had somehow escaped…
 
One of the men with the rifles who’d tumbled from the wagon pushed up off the ground. He spotted Hettie and, in a panic, reached for his pistol.
 
Hettie pointed Diablo at him. “Don’t.”
 
He blinked at her. “I-I-I’m sorry, Mizzay, I didn’t realize—” He stuttered to a stop. “Wait, you’re not—”
 
Hettie cocked Diablo for show. “Where’s Dr. Fielding?”
 
He gaped. “I—I don’t know—”
 
Hettie blew a molten hole in the ground next to his feet, and he stumbled back. “Where is he?”
 
“I was just supposed to stay in the cart! I don’t know anything!” His eyes canted left. Hettie reacted a second too late.
 
Someone cinched an arm around her neck and dragged her backward. Hettie struggled, dropping Diablo as she tried to pry her fingers under the man’s elbow to get a breath.
 
She sank her teeth into the man’s thick muscle, then slammed her heel into his shin, twisting to throw him off balance. He yelped and let go. She dove for Diablo and before she could stop herself, fired.
 
The man’s shriek was cut off almost instantly as he evaporated, flaring like a hellish green grease fire.
 
The agony of the revolver’s blood price was instant, shredding through skin, flesh and bone as it extracted one year of Hettie’s life for the life she’d taken. The pain went on and on, as if she were the one being consumed by flame. It’d been months since she’d killed a man; months since she’d slaked Diablo’s bloodthirst. And the mage gun’s appetite was insatiable. For a flash, she thought she was back in hell, being swallowed and forced down into Satan’s gullet—and then it was over.
 
Through the haze of relief, Hettie barely registered the person standing over her, pistol drawn, its blank, black eye winking at her.
 
 

Author Bio:
Vicki So, writing as V. S. McGrath, is a published romance author (as Vicki Essex) and has six books with Harlequin Superromance: Her Son’s Hero (July 2011); Back to the Good Fortune Diner (January 2013), which was picked for the Smart Bitches Trashy Books Sizzling Book Club; In Her Corner (March 2014); A Recipe for Reunion (March 2015); Red Carpet Arrangement (January 2016); and Matinees with Miriam (November 2016). She lives in Toronto, Canada.


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review 2019-01-16 21:02
Book Blitz: Girl with all the Pain by Michael Herman with Giveaway

Girl with all the Pain
Michael Herman

(Aliens, Tequila & Us #4)

Publication date: February 23rd 2018
Genres: Science Fiction, Thriller, Young Adult

Sometimes an ugly duckling becomes more than just a swan.

In the streets of Santiago, Chile, a young homeless girl named Isabel screams a scream of rage that is the last sound the gang tormenting her ever hears.

Deep within the city, a family feels her cry and sets out to find her for their sake as well as hers.

Never straying far from Isabel, Skunk Mountain, a homeless pile of walking filth, visible to only the neighborhood kids, maintains a guardian presence that is key to her survival in a world where, beneath the very ground they walk, a dark ancient intelligent entity prepares to unleash forces that will devastate Chile.

Sometimes that swan has claws and teeth. 
_______________________________________

Girl with all the Pain is the first of the Global Invasion Chronicles.

The Aliens, Tequila & Us series is prologue to Girl with all the Pain
_______________________________________

If you are interested in mass extinction events, Chinchorro mummies, alien creatures, tequila, Pisco Sours, Very Large Telescopes, foreign tongues, evolution theories, witchcraft beliefs, Santiago Chile, underground caves, vineyards, million dollar concept bikes, interstellar space travel, abandoned mines, the Atacama Desert, Russian ATVs, Himmler’s Nazis Lebensborn, predictions of future times, earthquakes, orchids, avatars, and people with mutant powers, then this is the book for you.

Kind reviews go far and help keep up the spirit while I work to bring the second Global Invasion Chronicle to life.

 
 
EXCERPT
 
When the woman strokes Isabel’s black fur, Isabel purrs loudly and makes clicking sounds. She knows she rests between friends who will not allow the ones below the base of the statue to harm her. The woman looks down at Isabel and says, “At long last, I have found you. You have not been forgotten. You and your people will return. We will end your long-suffering. You will no longer be alone.”
 
Isabel looks up at her with her black cat yellow eyes, and purrs. But below her feet, the ground trembles with the might of her enemy. The woman acknowledges the terrible presence beneath them and stoops to Isabel and says, “Only you can restore order. Only you can save them. Only you can end this. When your knowledge of yourself matures and you flower to your destiny, you will fulfill yourself and your time will be complete. We will join you and make it happen. Do you understand?”
Isabel snarls in response and lets out a mighty roar.

Then she is back on the daylight street holding hands with the mirror version of herself. She looks into the mirror self’s eyes and a shudder ripples through her body. The mirror version releases her hands, smiles, looks to Ángel and says, “All is well.”

 

Author Bio
When he isn't doing construction or creating 3D simulations for the AEC industry, Michael Herman writes from his small urban hillside farm in California where he types away to the sounds of chickens, coyotes, the occasional fox and his household pets.


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