Noor-A Book Review

My copy of Noor by Nnedi Okorafor was kindly provided by NetGalley and DAW publishing for a thoroughly honest review. Thanks!

Noor is, as of writing this, scheduled for release on November 16, 2021.

Noor is the story of AO, a young woman who, through circumstances of her birth and a car accident, is heavily augmented. One day, while shopping in the market, everything goes horribly wrong. Now she is on the run. Along the way she meet a Fulani tribesman named DNA, who also finds himself on the run.

Since everything is streamed, the whole world has seen their crimes and is glued to their screens watch the chase play out. Now AO and DNA must flee from their pursuers across the unforgiving desert, with very little hope of survival.

I guess I should start off by saying that I really enjoyed Binti by the author. I thought that book was really well done, so I hoped this book would be just as thought provoking and entertaining as that one was. And I wasn’t disappointed.

Noor was a fast paced adventure story that also encourages you to stick it to the man. Or, at the very least, the very large corporation. It uses Africanfuturism (the author’s preferred way of calling it) to tout the dangers of letting a corporation become to big.

The characters are wonderfully written. You really feel for AO and DNA’s plight as they race through the unforgiving desert wasteland that makes up their only refuge. AO and DNA could not be more different and yet their dynamic is brilliantly done.

Speaking of the desert. Nope. Do not want to go there. Not even for a short visit. The desert in Nigeria has undergone a massive cataclysm that makes it inhospitable to human life, and it’s there that our main characters must flee.

This book did not end the way I thought it would, which is a good thing. But I also think it was the only way it could have ended. I dislike predictable endings. Because when I say I really thought it was going to end a different way, I mean it.

But what do I rate it? I give it a 4 out of 5 stars.

The Ex Hex-A Book Review

This book was published by Avon and was released on September 28, 2021.

At the beginning of the book, Vivienne is 19 and just having had her heart broken. She and her cousin, Gwyn, decide to use their witchy wiles (and a Bath & Body Works candle) to curse her ex, Rhys, with silly things like bad hair days and not being able to please a woman. Then the book jumps 9 years to a 28 year old Vivienne, who is more self assured but still dreading Rhys’ arrival in town.

Rhys pretty much knows who he is. He’s confident in his magic, successful in his business, and always dreads trips home to see his overbearing father. So imagine his surprise when his father sends him to Graves Glen for a short trip to recharge the mystical town’s ley lines.

Of course, that’s when everything starts to go horribly wrong and Vivi realizes her curse may have actually worked. Now Vivi and Rhys have to work together to stop the curse before something terrible happens to Rhys or Graves Glen.

I have a confession. I don’t read romance books. That’s not to say I don’t appreciate them. I just like it when my romance has a fantastical element to it. Or is a fantasy book with a little bit of romance in it.

That being said, I did enjoy myself reading this book. I thought it was a lot of fun and cute and quirky.

The setting was wonderful. I found myself wanting to visit Graves Glen and when the book ended I was sad that I wasn’t going to be able to stay there. It gave Stars Hollow vibes, but in Georgia.

The plot was well executed with a nice twist that I didn’t know you could get from a romance book. Shows what I know. The medium pace of the book was pretty consistent throughout, though there is a sense of urgency that sets in at one point.

The characters were simply divine. I enjoyed each of them and Gwyn, Vivienne’s cousin, was an absolute hoot. I would love to see a story featuring her, please.

When I finished this book, I found myself wanting more from this world, which I didn’t expect. As a result I have to give this book 4 stars!

Child of Light-A Book Review

Thank you to Netgalley for providing this copy for review. I shall be honest in my review as a result!

Child of Light was written by the incomparable Terry Brooks and releases on October 12, 2021.

Update: The release date for Child of Light has, since I wrote this review, changed to October 19th.

Auris was a prisoner for as long as she could remember, which wasn’t long given her memory loss at the age of fifteen. She escapes the Goblin prison where she has been held and runs straight into the Fae, one of whom happens to think she might just be one of them.

I’m going to be honest with you, I didn’t like this book to the point where I DNF’d it.

Is that good for a reviewer? Probably not. But I told myself I wasn’t going to read things I don’t like.

Let me tell you why I don’t like it.

The writing was stiff and unwieldy. The author regularly used three words were one would do. And that wasn’t even when characters were speaking. Speaking of the dialogue, it had no flow to it. It was almost like the words for this book didn’t come easy to the author, and given that Terry Brooks has been writing good books for longer than I’ve been alive (I’m 41) this simply shouldn’t be the case.

So yes, my biggest complaint is with the writing. I just couldn’t get past it. I wasn’t enjoying myself at all. Which is not what I expected going into this book, as I loved the Landover series.

Now let’s talk about the other thing I have a problem with. Auris goes through something terrible at the beginning of the book, but what racks her brain when she’s rescued? How hot her rescuer is.

Sure, she thinks of the terrible thing now and again, but she thinks about how she is attracted to said rescuer more. Why does the author think this is something a 19-year-old girl fresh out of a traumatic experience needs to do?

Le sigh.

It bothered me a lot, okay?

It’s a 1 star DNF for me.

Under the Whispering Door-A Book Review

My copy of Under the Whispering Door, by TJ Klune, was kindly provided by NetGalley, and I shall thank them by being honest in my review.

Please read content warnings before reading this book. It deals heavily with the themes of death and various types of death and that may be unsettling to some readers.

So I’m going to be honest, I loved The House in The Cerulean Sea. It is one of my favorite books this year. But this book, this book just might have it beat.

The premise is simple. Wallace dies suddenly, and can hardly believe it except he’s at his own funeral. And there just so happens to be a reaper, Mei, there to collect him. Mei takes him to see Hugo, the ferryman, who just so happens to have the doorway to the afterlife in his tea shop.

Wallace is not particularly keen on this idea, as he would really prefer to be alive, thanks so much.

The book details Wallace’s journey through the five stages of grief as he experiences them from the other side of things. It’s interesting to see it from that perspective. You never think of the one’s we lost as having to grieve the lives and love ones they left behind.

We also meet a colorful cast of characters. From Hugo’s grandfather, Nelson, to Desdemona, a unique townsperson who, among other things, thinks she can turn Hugo’s head. For so many of them being dead, they feel so alive.

Klune created such a wonderful place in this little tea shop. It makes me want to visit. From charming locals, to a helpful reaper and enchanting ghosts, it also has scones! But in all seriousness, the world the author created is very rich for being so self contained.

Now to the nitty gritty. I laughed. I cried.

Like seriously, I was still crying as I sat down to write this review, it gave me all the feels.

To actually be serious, I lost my father a few years back, and I’d like to think he had someone like Mei or Hugo helping him to reach the other side. It was a nice thought to have and the description of those crossing through the doorway gave me an interesting sense of peace as well.

It also made me cry.

Please, bring tissues.

If I had to, I would say this book got 5 stars. Can I give a book 6 stars? No? 5 it is? Okay. Well. New favorite book! Does that help?

Soulless-A Book Review

Originally when I sat down to review this book, I was going to review the whole series, and then other books happened and now here we are several weeks later and I have two books left in this five book series.

Oh well. I’ll get to it, eventually.

Soulless, by Gail Carriger, follows Ms. Alexia Tarabotti, a preternatural. Which means she is lacking a soul. In olden times, her kind would have hunted vampires and werewolves and exercised ghosts, but these days such creatures are welcomed in the world as full citizens of the British empire. When Alexia accidentally kills a vampire at a party she is attending, she stumbles onto a mystery that draws her into the depths of the supernatural world.

Gail creates a wonderful world full of rich and vibrant characters, each one more intriguing than the last. I love the flamboyant Lord Akledama, a rove vampire of some stature. And Lord Maccon, the werewolf alpha and head of BUR (the constabulary for supernaturals), is fantastically gruff. His relationship with Alexia is amazingly complex.

Also, I feel like I use “rich and vibrant” to describe characters a lot. Maybe I should invest in a thesaurus.

Alexia herself is a bit of an outcast, being half Italian and half English. Though almost no one, not even her mother, knows of her status as a preternatural. She is stubborn, but well mannered, as befits the times. And unmarried, which is quite the scandal, and quite often refers to herself as a spinster.

Did I mention this book is set in Victorian London?

No?

My bad.

The plot is great. Finding out why a rove vampire would attack a preternatural at a party is the start of a great adventure. And it’s a fast paced story from beginning to end.

I will warn you that while it is described as steampunk, that really doesn’t come into play until later books. So don’t expect much in that realm from this particular entry in the series.

To sum up, I loved this book. I originally gave it four stars because I was upset there wasn’t more steampunky-ness. I later amended my review to five stars. It’s a fun read!

Every Book I Read-July 2021

Well, I made travel TBR last month. How did it go?

We shall see!

Bestiary by K-Ming Chang

The story of a girl who is told a story about a woman who has a tiger spirit by her mom, only to wake up with the same tiger spirit in her! I’m not gonna lie, I DNF’d this book. I just couldn’t get past the writing style and as a result had a hard time getting into the story. I know there is an audience out there for this book, it just isn’t with me.

The Left Handed Book Sellers of London by Garth Nix

When Susan heads to London to find her father, she accidentally stumbles across Merlin, who is part of a shadowy organization called the Booksellers who protect society from the otherworldly. I gave this quirky little book 4 stars. I really hope we get another book set in this world.

For the Wolf by Hannah Whitten

Red has the misfortune of being born the second daughter. This means she will be sacrificed to the Wolf of the Wilderwoods. You can read my full review of this book here, but it’s safe to say I loved it. 5 stars.

Empress of Salt and Fortune by Nghi Vo

This story follows Chih as they learn about the exiled Empress In-Yo from Rabbit, a member of the Empresses house. This short novella was expertly done, and I can’t wait to read the next story in Chih’s journey to chronicle to truth of things. 5 stars.

Bow Legged Buccaneers From Outer Space by David Owain Huges

So the premise of this book is a little weird. A group of uber nerds from the 1990s takes over a city that ends up being walled up as a result of the lawlessness that reigns inside it. A friend, who shares my bookish tastes recommended this one to me. Um, I gotta disagree with her. I DNF’d this one. I don’t chaotic writing styles, and that’s what this book had. Also, it was just a little too weird for me.

A Psalm for the Wild Built by Becky Chambers

The story of a monk, Sibling Dex, who heads off into the remote woods and meets Mosscap, a robot who asks what humainty needs. I loved this short novella and fell in love with the characters. Becky Chambers certainly doesn’t shy away from the hard questions. I gave it 5 stars.

Soulless by Gail Carriger

The story of Alexia, a preturnatural, who wants to solve the mystery of why a vampire attacked her. I have a review on this book forthcoming, so stay tuned to find out my thoughts on this book! Spoiler alert, I bought the whole series.

Changeless by Gail Carriger

The sequel to Soulless. Sorry that I can’t tell you what it’s about, it would spoil the ending for Soulless! I will say it’s very good. 5 stars.

Blameless by Gail Carriger

And this is the sequel to Changeless. Again, the plot would spoil the previous book. But it was good. I enjoyed it muchly. Oh wait, 5 stars…again.

Well, look at that! 9 books (2640 pages)! Huzzah!

But as far as that original TBR went, I failed it. I read 3 of the 5 books on that list. So I still have those to read later on at some point. Oh well, that’s how the cookie crumbles.

Mmm…cookies.

On to the stats!

I love posting my stats each month. They give me an opportunity to look back and see how I’ve done with my reading and, well, yeah, I love it. As always the stats are brought to you by The Storygraph.

Moods

I read 9 books this month, and it seems that every one of them was adventurous. It was interesting to see that three of them were dark. I only figured on two of them being considered dark. Oh well.

Pace

It’s seems I was quite fond of medium paced books this month, reading 4 of those.

Page Numbers

Books over 300 pages are coming in hot this month!

Genres

I love seeing the genre break down of my books. I always assume that Fantasy is my most read Genre, given it’s what I am drawn to the most.

Star Ratings

Um, I may have a problem with handing out 5 star ratings. Maybe.

Also, if you don’t follow Jaysen on the TikTok what are you even doing with your life? He goes by Ezeekat if you want to check him out.

If you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna have to go buy some cookies now.

For the Wolf- A Book Review

I read one of the books on my Two Week Trip TBR! Go me!

For the Wolf by Hannah Whitten is a story about two sisters, Red and Neve. Red is a second daughter, the one who must be sacrificed to the Wolf of the Wilderwood to help keep her land safe. And Neve will do anything to get her back.

I have noticed for a while now that I have become a fan of Orbit Books, that’s the publisher behind For the Wolf. Everything they publish seems to be great. I’m drawn to their titles, so much so that I signed up for their newsletter so I could be up to date on the newest releases. For the Wolf is another example of their excellence.

The plot is what drew me in. A unique retelling of beauty and the beast, this take makes the beast a man. Right from the get go you’re intrigued by what lies ahead for Red in the Wilderwood. And what is going to happen to her sister, Neve, as she does everything in her power to retrieve Red.

The characters are rich and and beautifully written. Eammon is interesting and complex, the perfect foil for Red. Red is daring, but unsure of herself in the Wilderwood. Because the Wilderwood is it’s own character. It has a life of it’s own and it doesn’t hesitate to let you know it. Neve is ruthless in doing whatever it takes to get her sister back.

The magic system is amazing and unique and complex. I won’t go into here because it would spoil the story too much. Just, I loved the magic in this book.

I did sorta see the twist coming, but I didn’t figure it out so early on in the book that I was displeased by it at the big reveal.

In the end I gave this book 5 stars, and I am really looking forward to the sequel.

Project Hail Mary – A Book Review

Today I bring to you the joyous news of a review for a book that I did, indeed, finish!

Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir!

I’m going to be honest and say I’m a big Andy Weir fan. I loved The Martian and I really enjoyed Artemis (even though it wasn’t as good as The Martian) and I knew I was going to be picking this book up. I just wasn’t sure whether or not I was going to be waiting for it to come out as a paperback. Barnes & Nobel’s 50% sale on Prime Day made up my mind for me.

I’m a girl who likes a sale.

I also happen to be a girl who likes sci-fi.

This book is about Ryland Grace, who wakes up on a space ship, with no memory and two dead crewmen. Oh, he also happens to be humanities only hope of solving an extinction level event having to do with the sun.

So why beat around the bush, I loved this book. I read it in two days. Would have been one but I got distracted by The Golden Girls.

I know, I got side tracked by a thirty year old tv show. Go me.

You’re moved back in forth through time as Ryland regains his memories. This happens slowly over the course of the book. And it’s great to see how that pays off. And the memories themselves are full of colorful characters. Although Andy Weir still can’t write women very well (this was a problem in Artemis, which has a female main character) he has improved, so he gets points for that.

I enjoyed Ryland’s time in the Hail Mary. I loved the ship, how they traveled, how they got artificial gravity, the lab, all of it. The author writes complicated science jargon in a way that makes it easy for everyone to understand, it’s part of the reason I enjoyed the the time ship so much.

There is a lot in this book to love. From the character interactions to the actual puzzle of why the sun was dimming. As is typical of the authors books, I did laugh, a lot. Andy Weir like to remind you that even stressful situations can have humorous moments. It works.

Basically, pick this one up if you love great sci-fi! I gave it 5 stars.

Spoiler Alert in the comments folks!

My Top 5 So Far in 2021

So given that it’s the middle of the year, I thought I would share with you my top 5 favorite books so far. Because why not?

Now, I haven’t read as much as I would like this year, but I’m working on it. I do have a few five star reads that I can choose from, however. So here they are, in no particular order. Because I’m cool like that.

The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune

The story of Linus, who gets sent to investigate whether or not a group of magical children, who are extraordinarily unique, are being appropriately taken care of. This heartwarming found family story is like that feeling you get when you are wrapped in a warm blanket sipping on some hot cocoa. People have compared it to being wrapped in a warm hug, they aren’t wrong. It’s amazing. Truly.

This Place: 150 Years Retold by Various, art by Various

Indigenous persons of Canada tell their history of Canadian colonization in this graphic novel. It was painful and beautiful to read. I legitimately cried at some points. I was angry at some points. This book moved me. And I loved it so much.

Broken (in the Best Possible Way) by Jenny Lawson

Broken is Jenny Lawson’s newest memoir, and it’s wonderful. The way she talks about mental health, I only wish I was that open about mine. I loved this book. It made me laugh so much!

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

Nora takes her own life and ends up in the Midnight Library, a place between life and death. From here, she’s able to live her life as if she made different decisions. I am still thinking about this book a month later.

Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness

It’s the sequel to A Discovery of Witches, and I love that book (it was a five star read too), but this is my favorite book in the series. Probably because of the time travel. No, yeah, it’s definitely because of the time travel.

Don’t ask me to pick a favorite. That’s basically like asking me to pick a favorite child. Except I don’t have children, but I do have siblings and I know that parents always have a favorite. Sigh. If I had to pick a favorite, House in the Cerulean Sea and Broken (in the best possible way) are in the top spots I guess.

Lost in the Never Woods-A Book Review

Well. How do I put this. I really wanted to like this book, and yet, alas, I did not.

Lost in the Never Woods by Aiden Thomas is a contemporary Peter Pan retelling. In the authors own words, it’s more like a fanfic. This one just happens to be a not so great fanfic.

Here’s the thing, the premise sounds great. Wendy and her brothers, John and Michael, disappear in the woods one day and only young Wendy returns. Fast-forward several years later and Wendy is freshly eighteen and two more children have gone missing in the woods. Wendy wants no part of any of it, until a she almost hits a boy, claiming to be Peter Pan, with her truck.

Just to reiterate, I wanted to like this book. I really did. I loved the author’s first novel, Cemetery Boys, and was hoping this book would live up to that promise and it just didn’t.

What was wrong with the book, you may ask? I just found it, well, boring. The first real action scene in the book and I wasn’t enthralled by it. This book just seemed to leave me wanting more, so much more, at every turn.

And that’s why, at 150 pages, I gave up. I was tired of wanting more from the characters, the world, the mythology, the world the author was building.

Am I still going to pick up their next book? Absolutely. But I had to give this one 1 star.