Book Review

Book Review: Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult contemporary fiction
Length: 432 pages
Author: Elizabeth Acevedo
Publisher: Quill Tree Books
Release Date: May 5th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

In a novel-in-verse that brims with grief and love, National Book Award-winning and New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Acevedo writes about the devastation of loss, the difficulty of forgiveness, and the bittersweet bonds that shape our lives.

Camino Rios lives for the summers when her father visits her in the Dominican Republic. But this time, on the day when his plane is supposed to land, Camino arrives at the airport to see crowds of crying people…

In New York City, Yahaira Rios is called to the principal’s office, where her mother is waiting to tell her that her father, her hero, has died in a plane crash.

Separated by distance—and Papi’s secrets—the two girls are forced to face a new reality in which their father is dead and their lives are forever altered.

And then, when it seems like they’ve lost everything of their father, they learn of each other.

AMAZING.

This might be the first time I can remember reading a full book in verse. I didn’t know how I would enjoy it, but this ended up being the perfect dynamic for this story. I loved the way it flowed and moved.

Reading the complex and dynamic thoughts of Camino and Yahaira broke my heart. This was raw and real and I felt the emotions they were both struggling with as they coped with significant loss and finding out someone they both loved was not all he seemed. Yet, while they unraveled their father’s secrets, they also remembered to love the man that they did have. And I love how complicated this was. There was room here to feel what they needed to and how they could move forward.

I liked seeing both sides of the story and understanding more how this plane crash affected these communities across an ocean. It caused me to look up, research, and learn more about something that I hadn’t heard of. Clap When You Land was beautiful and a quick read. The musicality of the language brought so much to the surface.

The bond that starts to form between Camino and Yahaira gave the ending light. Finding hope in a tragic storm and looking towards a better future.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult contemporary fiction
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: plane crash, loss of a loved one, physical, sexual harassment

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Book Review

Book Review: Drums of Autumn (Outlander #4) by Diana Gabaldon

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Historical fiction romance
Length: 904 pages
Author: Diana Gabaldon
Publisher: Delta
Release Date: December 30th, 1996
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

In this breathtaking novel—rich in history and adventure—The New York Times bestselling author Diana Gabaldon continues the story of Claire Randall and Jamie Fraser that began with the now-classic novel Outlander and continued in Dragonfly in Amber and Voyager. Once again spanning continents and centuries, Diana Gabaldon has created a work of sheer passion and brilliance….

It began at an ancient Scottish stone circle. There, a doorway, open to a select few, leads into the past—or the grave. Dr. Claire Randall survived the extraordinary passage, not once but twice.

Her first trip swept her into the arms of Jamie Fraser, an eighteenth-century Scot whose love for her became a legend—a tale of tragic passion that ended with her return to the present to bear his child. Her second journey, two decades later, brought them together again in the American colonies. But Claire had left someone behind in the twentieth century—their daughter, Brianna….

Now Brianna has made a disturbing discovery that sends her to the circle of stones and a terrifying leap into the unknown. In search of her mother and the father she has never met, she is risking her own future to try to change history … and to save their lives. But as Brianna plunges into an uncharted wilderness, a heartbreaking encounter may strand her forever in the past … or root her in the place she should be, where her heart and soul belong.

FAVORITE ONE [YET].

I’ve sat on this review for awhile because sometimes I feel like it’s hard to write a review over a book you LOVED and when it’s 900 pages. That’s a lot to cover?!

This might be my favorite Outlander book [yet]. This was also the first one I listened to on audio! Such a great combination. The narration was solid and really brought the book to life. Claire and Jamie were amazing again (no surprise) and I love the simplicity of the story in that, we’re following their lives. Even if the story itself is crazy complicated. I enjoy seeing how life progresses for them and watching them choose each other over and over again.

Some of my new favorites are definitely Roger and Brianna. I might have been more invested in them for this book. I’m smitten for a good love story and this was definitely good. Plenty of intrigue, banter, and romance for them. I was surprised where the story went and love how everything clicked together.

There’s a hundred different things that happened throughout this. Moments that made me smile, one’s that made me enraged, and others that brought tears. I love the writing and the way these stories flow over time. Magical and exhilarating with many, many things in between. I’m trying to intentionally keep this vague because I don’t want to spoil this (and previous books). Plenty of things keep happening here so it was a great continuation of the series!

Overall audience notes:

  • Historical fiction romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: kisses / make-outs; a handful of open and closed door scenes (with ranging levels of detail)
  • Violence: physical, swords, guns, explosions, sickness, murder, see trigger warnings for more
  • Trigger warnings: [I know I have missed some and I apologize for those I did miss, please research before choosing this series, nothing is left out in regards to detail and some of the awfulness of this time period]: multiple depictions of enslaved Africans and racism (setting from 1760’s), lynching, death from an abortion attempt, animal attacks, rape, racism involving Native Americans, sexual assault, hate crimes

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Book Review

Book Review: My Calamity Jane (The Lady Janies #3) by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult paranormal historical fiction
Length: 516 pages
Author: Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows
Publisher: Harper Teen
Release Date: June 2nd, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Welcome ​to 1876 and a rootin’-tootin’ America bursting with gunslingers, outlaws, and garou.

JANE (a genuine hero-eene)
Calamity’s her name, and garou hunting’s her game—when she’s not starring in Wild Bill’s Traveling Show, that is. She reckons that if a girl wants to be a legend, she should just go ahead and be one.

FRANK (*wolf whistle*)
Frank “the Pistol Prince” Butler is the Wild West’s #1 bachelor. He’s also the best sharpshooter on both sides of the Mississippi, but he’s about to meet his match. . . .

ANNIE (get your gun!)
Annie Oakley (yep, that Annie) is lookin’ for a job, not a romance, but she can’t deny there’s something about Frank she likes. Really likes. Still, she’s pretty sure that anything he can do,
she can do better.

A HAIRY SITUATION
After a garou hunt goes south and Jane finds a suspicious-like bite on her arm, she turns tail for Deadwood, where there’s been talk of a garou cure. But things ain’t always what they seem—meaning the gang better hightail it after her before they’re a day late and a Jane short.

STRONG START.

Eh ending.

I’ve really enjoyed this book series. I found them easy to laugh along with, the side quips from the narrators were charming, and the characters were fun. The whole comedy concept of it is what made me read My Lady Jane when it first came out and continue on. I feel like they’ve kinda fallen from there though.

MCJ started off great. I was into the story, was cool with the paranormal “twist” and wondered where the story would go. I thought everyone was easy to love and liked the found family aspects of the show.

What didn’t mix was that I felt this was focused a lot more on Annie than Jane. Jane was there, often, of course, but she didn’t really get a massive story line like the other Janies. The focus was around Annie and Frank and their very much insta-love, love story. Cute at times, annoying at others is how my thoughts ranged reading this.

I found it continually harder to pick this book up to read and ended up skim-reading the last half. I think if it had been a bit shorter, not filled with random, out-of-place, political comments and had more focus on Jane, her love story, and what she was dealing with, I could have enjoyed it more.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult paranormal historical fiction
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: guns, murder, animal attacks, physical

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Book Review

ARC Book Review: Kingdom of the Wicked (Kingdom of the Wicked #1) by Kerri Maniscalco

Rating: ☆☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: Young adult paranormal fantasy romance
Length: 448 pages
Author: Kerri Maniscalco
Publisher: Jimmy Patterson
Release Date: October 27th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Kerri Maniscalco introduces her next series, a dark tale of a beautiful young witch, a troubled demon, and their epic romance, set against a 19th century Italian backdrop.

Emilia and her twin sister Victoria are streghe – witches who live secretly among humans, avoiding notice and persecution. One night, Victoria misses dinner service at the family’s renowned Sicilian restaurant. Emilia soon finds the body of her beloved twin…desecrated beyond belief. Devastated, Emilia sets out to discover who did this, and to seek vengeance at any cost—even if it means using dark magic that’s been long forbidden.

Then Emilia meets Wrath, the outlier among the seven demon brethren, always choosing duty over pleasure. He’s been tasked by his master with investigating a series of women’s murders on the island. When Emilia and Wrath’s fates collide, it’s clear this disturbing mystery will take a bewitching turn.

Thank you to Jimmy Patterson and Netgalley for the gifted eARC. All opinions are my own!

YOU DON’T KNOW IT YET, BUT YOU NEED THIS BOOK.

I don’t even know how to start this review, I LOVED this book y’all! I enjoyed Maniscalco’s first series, Stalking Jack the Ripper, but mainly for Thomas Cresswell. Seriously, don’t ask me what I think about Audrey Rose. That being said, it made me initially nervous to read this because I worried for the main character again.

And I can say, for at least this first book, I am wrong. I adored Emilia as the main protagonist. She was bold and fierce. Made her own decisions based on what she knew and was told, and yeah, maybe ran off into danger a time or two, but what heroine doesn’t? Emilia was the missing puzzle piece I needed to love this.

Enter in, our Prince of Hell, WRATH. Ohhhh can Maniscalco right a love interest amazingly well. I feel a solidified new book boyfriend coming in over the course of this series. I loved the banter and enemies to lovers dynamic. Being forced to work together to solve witch murders led to some close knit and quiet scenes that I JUST CAN’T HANDLE. Part of his character is left very open-ended and I will sit here anxiously waiting to know if some of my thoughts/assumptions are true.

May be wondering why the half-star take down? For one of the characters involved I could spot from a mile away that they were one of the villains. I didn’t like how quick that was to pick out from the get-go. What I did love was meeting all of Wrath’s brothers. Who knew I was so interested in the Princes from hell? All so cunning and manipulative. Filled with arrogance and doing as they please. Couldn’t help myself, I loved them (and hated them, ya know) too.

There’s a lot of action, heat, and mystery involved here. I was absolutely entrenched in this Italian backdrop atmosphere. It fit this story well and only increased my adoration. Give me book two ASAP.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult paranormal fantasy romance
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: kisses / make-outs; a scene where characters are undressed, but that’s as far as it goes
  • Violence: murder, torture, animal attacks, physical altercations
  • Content warnings: loss of a loved one

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