Fiction · Mystery · Science Fiction · Thriller

DOUBLE REVIEW: The Psychology of Time Travel

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Title: The Psychology of Time Travel

Author: Kate Mascarenhas

Page Count: 372

Series: N/A

Publishing Date/Publisher: 12 February 2019 by Crooked Lane Books (originally published August 9th 2018 by Head of Zeus)

Format: eBook

Reader: Kymberly

Review:

I don’t think I can accurately describe just how much I love this book, but I will try.

It had me hooked from the start, grabbing me instantly with the strong, smart, vulnerable women, and kept me hooked through the entire story. The relative lack of men was an added, welcome, and refreshing change of pace from most books I’ve read. I’ve also noticed that most books and movies/television shows involving time travel make the reader/viewer do some mental gymnastics in order to wrap their head around the whole concept, however Mascarenhas does all that for you, leaving your brain free to try to dissect the murder mystery.

I also loved how the story is woven together and how organized it is, despite it being about a very disorganized subject. This made it easy to read and impossible to put down.

I have already started telling all my friends about this book and will continue to bother them until each and everyone of them reads it. I was utterly blown away and loved every minute of it.

Rating: 

All_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_Gold

All_Star_Gold

Review: This book thoroughly boggled my brain.  The concept of time travel makes absolutely zero sense to me.  This book is technically a murder mystery, but oddly it didn’t feel to me like a murder mystery at all.  The mystery itself became more of a subplot as I struggled to wrap my head around the various concepts detailed in the book pertaining to time chronology, “genies”, and other time travel concepts.   I liked the book, but I was honestly too confused by it to love it.

Reader: Bekah

Rating: 

All_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_Goldhalf star

Fiction · Young Adult

Belly Up

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Title: Belly Up

Author: Eva Darrows

Page Count: 384

Series: Unknown

Publishing Date/Publisher: April 30, 2019 by Inkyard Press

Format: eBook

Review: There are so many things I love about this book.  Most importantly, there are the characters.  Darrows’ characters are full of personality and spunk and the dialogue between them sometimes had me snickering out loud.  Bottom-line, I want all of them in my life for reals.

Teen pregnancy books often fall into the realm of “issue” fiction, but this is so much more than just a cautionary tale.  Certainly the main character, Sara, has to come to terms with the repercussions of a single night of indiscretion, but she finds strength in herself and the people in her life as she navigates through some tough choices.

There is a whole lot of representation in this book.  The main character is biracial and bisexual/questioning.  Her best friend is asexual, another friend is transgender, and her boyfriend is demisexual.  I have to admit that I had to look up several of the terms and identifiers used in this novel because I had no idea what they meant.  The story really covers a wide spectrum of gender and sexuality, and it is rare to see that kind of fluidity represented in YA fiction.

I highly recommend this book.  It is smart, it is funny, and it really shows how important it is to surround yourself with supportive and loving people…people who will be with you through thick and thin (pun intended).

Reader: Bekah

Rating: 

All_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_Gold

Fiction · Young Adult

The Miseducation of Cameron Post

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Title: The Miseducation of Cameron Post

Author: Emily M. Danforth

Page Count: 485

Series: N/A

Publishing Date/Publisher: February 7, 2012 by Balzer + Bray

Format: eBook

Review: There has been a surge of LGBT books released in recent years as publishers try to find materials that represent diverse characters and authors, but before this became a publishing trend, there were authors like Emily M. Danforth paving the way for LGBT representation in Young Adult literature.  Although published in 2012, this award winning book has been adapted into a film that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year.  Now that I have read the book, I hope that I get an opportunity to watch the film.

Not everyone will find this book interesting.  At times it is a slow building story, but I personally am fascinated by the idea of conversion camps, mostly because I can hardly believe that they exist.  The first book I read that opened my eyes to this sort of abuse was Jesus Land: A Memoir by Julia Scheeres (also highly recommended), so I was intrigued to read more about this topic.  What makes it truly horrifying is that the people who send their kids to these camps, and the people who run them, actually believe that they are helping the kids.  My heart goes out to anyone who has survived this type of trauma.

Reader: Bekah

Rating: 

All_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_Gold

Fiction · Romance · Young Adult

Leah on the Offbeat

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Title: Leah on the Offbeat

Author: Becky Albertalli

Performer: Shannon Purser

Length: 7 hr, 11 min, 21 sec

Series: Creekwood, Book 2

Publishing Date/Publisher: 2018 by Harper Audio

Format: eAudiobook

Review: I thoroughly enjoyed Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda, so I was thrilled when I found out the author was publishing a book highlighting another character introduced in the first of the Creekwood series.

Leah was a character I enjoyed very much in Simon’s book, and I was excited to get to know her better.  Leah’s character is self-assured and opinionated, and she loves her appearance, despite the fact that her body type does not adhere to traditional standards of beauty.  She is confident in just about every aspect of herself, except her sexuality and her art.  Leah is a very talented artist, but she is reluctant to show her deeply personal work to the people in her life.  Perhaps she is worried that it will be revealing of the secret she has been harboring from her friends…her bisexuality.

Based on the description above, I should love Leah, but once inside her head, I actually found her to be a bit obnoxious.  To make matters worse, many situations in the book made me cringe, because Leah was outright rude or inconsiderate to the people around her.  By the end of the book, I was not her biggest fan.

The romance between Leah and another character was also very problematic.  Her love interest came off extremely flat and the chemistry just wasn’t there.  The story also does not address any blowback that would have undoubtedly occurred if the romance progressed the way it did in the book.  It was extremely unrealistic and disappointing when the author jumped over any inevitable falling out and just included a “happy ending” epilogue to gloss it all over.

Despite my disdain for this book, the performer did a great job with her narration.  I would give her a higher star rating than the book itself if I could.

Reader: Bekah

Rating:

All_Star_GoldAll_Star_Gold

Fiction · Romance · Young Adult

Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda

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Title: Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda

Author: Becky Albertalli

Performer: Michael Crouch

Length: 6 hr, 45 min, 6 sec

Series: Creekwood, Book 1

Publishing Date/Publisher: 2015 by Harper Audio

Format: eAudiobook

Review: This love story is adorable.  Simon is adorable.  Everything about this book is adorable.

In all seriousness though, this is an excellent coming-of-age/teen romance.  It’s angsty and endearing and you just want to reach through the pages and give Simon a big hug.  It is hard for me to relate directly to his experiences coming out to his family and friends, but many of Simon’s struggles to accept himself are universal.  The supporting characters in this story are, for the most part, also very likable.  Simon’s friends and family are so accepting of who he is, that at first it seemed silly to me that he is so reluctant to come out to them. As the story progresses, however, I really got a better grasp of how scary this step is to a teen, regardless of whether or not they have a strong support network.

I enjoyed this story in audiobook format.  I have listened to other audiobooks performed by Michael Crouch, and his voice is very well suited to books told from the perspective of a teenage boy.  It’s a very generic “young man” voice, and his even cadence makes his performances very easy to listen to.

After reading this book, I was very excited to rent the movie adaptation Love, Simon.  My expectations for book-turned-movie adaptations are always low, but the movie was extremely well cast, and they captured the feel of the book very well.  This can be difficult to do, especially when so much of the book is introspective.

Both the book and the film were very heart-warming, and I highly recommend both to fans of this genre.

Reader: Bekah

Rating:

All_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_Gold

Fiction · Young Adult

Picture Us in the Light

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Title: Picture Us in the Light

Author: Kelly Loy Gilbert

Page Count: 361

Series: N/A

Publishing Date/Publisher: April 10, 2018 by Disney-Hyperion

Format: Hardcover

Review: If I could sum up this story in one word it would be heart-wrenching. Gut tightening, tear duct prickling, chest aching, I will never be the same, heart-wrenching. 

The most astonishing thing about this author’s writing style is how she can touch upon extremely sensitive, hot button issues without seeming like she has any sort of political agenda.  The emotions and pain she conveys through her characters is so real and so raw, you truly feel like you are glimpsing into their souls.

The ending of this story is going to haunt me, and it is almost hard to recommend this book because it demands a lot of emotional investment.  In some ways, it is like watching a train wreck.  You can’t stop it, you just have to watch it unfold. Just when you think the story cannot get any sadder, the author surprises you with another tragic twist.  So with this one I say, read at your own risk…and with a box of tissues.

As a  final note, this is coincidently the third book I have read recently that takes place near my hometown.  The issues the author sheds light on are all too real and all too common.  I hope this story finds itself in the hands of the right people, because it might just save a life.

Reader: Bekah

Rating:

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