Wonder Woman Vol. 1: Blood by Brian Azzarello

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Oddly enough, I had to read this graphic novel for my Mythology class. We were discussing myth in the modern world and so we did a unit on Wonder Woman, reading the first two issues of the original comic book series, watching the pilot of the Lynda Carter TV show, and finally, reading the first volume of the new 52. Needless to say, this has definitely been the most fun school assignment I’ve ever had.

Rating: [4/5]

Reading Challenge: A graphic novel

Summary: Diana is sucked in to a war between the gods when Zola, who’s pregnant with Zeus’s child, shows up in her room one night. In her quest to protect Zola, Diana returns home to Paradise Island, bringing bloodshed right along with her. After discovering the secret to her parentage, Diana must figure out how to keep Zola and the baby safe from Hera and prevent war among the gods.

Likes: I love the character development, especially compared to the other two versions of Wonder Woman I’ve seen. I also really like how Greek mythology plays a larger role. Plus, the art style is absolutely gorgeous.

Dislikes: They switched artists in issues 5 and 6, which made it feel a little weird.

TL;DR: Definitely read this if you like comics and superheros.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

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Okay, I’m going to be really honest here. When I first heard about this book, I thought it sounded stupid. But then I kept seeing it everywhere and book bloggers whose opinions I respect were all gushing over it and so I started rethinking my opinions. And then it went on sale on Amazon, so I thought, why not? and bought it. I HAVE NEVER BEEN MORE EXCITED TO BE WRONG IN MY LIFE.

Rating: [5/5]

Reading Challenge: A book set in the future

Summary: Cinder is the best mechanic in New Beijing. She’s also a cyborg living with her adoptive mother and two stepsisters. When the prince himself comes to her stand and asks her to fix his android, she can hardly say no. But that same day, plague breaks out in the city and people close to Cinder begin to fall ill. However, Cinder soon discovers that she may hold the key for a cure to this dreaded plague–and with that, she may finally be able to escape the city and find her happily ever after.

Likes: Disabled woman of color as the protagonist. That was literally one of the main reasons why I finally decided to pick up the book. Plus, all those plot twists. Seriously, I am kind of amazed at how much plot the author managed to fit into that book and still have it make sense. Lastly, I really liked how the author adapted the fairy tale and yet still managed to subvert expectations and make the characters and story fresh.

Dislikes: I really did not appreciate the massive cliffhanger at the end of the book, but that’s only because I can’t afford to buy the second one right now! :)

TL;DR: Read this book. All of you. Right now.

Never Look Back by Sabine Bummel

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I received a request from the author to review this book.

Goodreads | Amazon US

Rating: [1/5]

Summary: Jen Butler is an author of self-help books. She met the man of her dreams, Will, at one of her book signings and they began a yearlong relationship. However, Jen wakes up one day and discovers that every trace of Will has disappeared from her life. Thinking that she made the past year of her life up, she is determined to search for him and discover the truth. With the help of her ex-boyfriend, Cameron, she soon finds that Will may not have been who he said he was.

Likes: The book felt like I was reading a Michael Bay movie. Everything just seemed totally blown out of proportion and fantastical. It was full of expensive cars. exotic locales, fine foods, and a lot of sex. So, overall, I enjoyed the over-the-top Hollywood feel of the story.

Dislikes: There were a lot of misspelled words and grammatical errors. It was to the point that sometimes I could not tell what the author was even trying to say. The plot dragged at points and the characters all seemed exactly the same to me. But most of all, I feel the author asked the reader to take too much for granted and many times the situations were so implausible that it was too difficult to suspend my disbelief long enough to really get into the story.

TL;DR: I don’t think I would recommend this book to anyone, quite honestly. I just couldn’t take the story seriously.

 

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

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I really wasn’t sure what to expect going in to this book. Overall, I’m not a huge fan of historical fiction or of war literature (there are some exceptions of course), so I’m really not sure why I decided to buy this book in the first place. However, I’m really glad I did because it completely subverted all of my expectations and I was very pleasantly surprised.

Rating: [5/5]

Reading Challenge: A book that made you cry

Summary: Verity is an English Special Operations Executive during the beginning of World War Two. She and her best friend, the pilot Maddie, are shot down over France and Verity is taken prisoner by the Nazis. In order to stop the Nazis from torturing her, Verity agrees to tell them everything she knows. Through her account of British military secrets, she weaves a tale of how she and Maddie came to be best friends in the middle of a war.

Likes: I absolutely love the characters. Verity and Maddie are both so wonderful and different. They’re strong and brave and yet still feminine. I also really love the unreliable narrative style. It took me a little bit to get used to at first, but once I realized what the author was doing, I loved it.

Dislikes: There was a lot of military and technical jargon that was sometimes hard to get around. Plus, the beginning of the book was a little difficult for me to get into.

TL;DR: I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes war or historical fiction, or who loves strong female characters.

The Emergence by A.O. Khalil

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I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Publication Date: May 19, 2015

Goodreads | Amazon US | Website

Rating: [3/5]

Summary: In the wake of natural disasters and mass disappearances worldwide, sinkholes begin to open up without explanations. There rumors of strange creatures emerging from the holes, but no one believes them, until it’s too late. When the creatures stage a massive attack on the human race, Jayson must do whatever it takes to protect his family and keep them away from the creatures.

Likes: For me, the concept of the book was really intriguing and the author kept a lot of the mystery secret throughout the boo, only revealing tidbits here and there. For me, that was enough to keep me reading. Plus, the book was really excellently paced and full of action, so it never felt dull or dragged out. In my opinion, the concept, plot, and pacing were definitely the book’s strongest points.

Dislikes: There were a lot of grammatical and spelling errors throughout the book, which normally bothers me a lot. However, the book itself was compelling enough to keep me reading. If that’s something that bothers you as a reader, then you may have a difficult time with this book.

TL;DR: Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone who likes action, dystopian, or post-apocalyptic type stories.It was a quick, exciting read with one heck of a cliffhanger.

Henry V by William Shakespeare

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I’m actually seeing a production of this at my school tomorrow. I go to a woman’s university, so King Henry is genderbent. While I didn’t really enjoy reading this play as much as I have some of the others, I think I’ll like watching it more. At least, I hope so.

Rating: [2/5]

Summary: In this play, Henry has decided to invade France on the grounds that he’s very distantly related to a French monarch. Because the French government refuses to acknowledge his claim, Henry gathers an army to take control of an important port city despite the ridiculous odds facing him and his men.

Likes: Katherine is basically the only redeeming part of this play for me. Her dirty French puns in the one scene plus Henry attempting to “woo” her at the end were really the only parts of the play that I enjoyed.

Dislikes: For me, this play was very difficult to follow. The historical context of the play needs to be known in order to understand the storyline. I frankly didn’t enjoy it very much at all.

TL;DR: I don’t know if I would recommend this particular historical play.

The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan

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I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to read the conclusion to this fantastic series! For my birthday, I got a coupon for a discounted book and I hauled myself all the way to the bookstore in an ice storm to buy it. Probably not my best idea. Also now you know how long it’s been since I’ve read it. Oops.

Rating: [4/5]

Reading Challenge: A book from an author you love but haven’t read yet

Summary: In this conclusion to Rick Riordan’s Heroes of Olympus series, the demigods prepare to face Gaea and her armies. Reyna, Nico, and Hedge are tasked with getting the Athena Parthenos back to Camp Half-Blood in an attempt to ally the Greeks and Romans against a common enemy. Meanwhile, the rest of the group goes to find Nike, Apollo, and Artemis to gather the tools they need to win the war. As the clock ticks down to Gaea’s rising, a grim reminder remains: one of them must die.

Likes: I really enjoyed the pacing of the book compared to the last two. There was a lot of action and even though the book is long, it didn’t seem like it. I’m glad Riordan chose to focus on only a couple of characters, rather than pulling in all of them. Mainly, I enjoyed the characters in this book. Especially Nico. I really enjoyed his arc and development throughout this book.

Dislikes: The foreshadowing is a little too obvious. The big twist in the plot didn’t seem like that big of a twist to me because of how obviously it was foreshadowed throughout the entire book. Plus, the ending itself seemed rather abrupt. All of the sudden, it was just over.

TL;DR: I definitely liked this book better than some of the other ones in the series. I recommend it to anyone who’s read the rest of the series or who enjoyed the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. Or just if you like mythology in general.

Henry IV Part 1 by William Shakespeare

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This is another play for my Shakespeare class this semester. It’s a part of the second historical tetralogy, which includes Richard II, Henry IV Part 1, Henry IV Part 2, and Henry V. Even though it’s the second of the two historical cycles, it comes first chronologically. Think Star Wars.

Rating: [3/5]

Summary: After securing the throne from Richard II, Henry IV faces a new nemesis in the form of Hotspur, the leader of a new rebellion. While Henry IV has his hands full dealing with the blossoming rebellion, his son, Henry V, spends his days drinking and partying with peasants and outlaws. However, once the battle begins, Henry V has the chance to prove himself to his father and his people.

Likes: I really enjoyed all of the scenes with Henry V and Falstaff. They’re so funny and their friendship dynamic is so interesting to me. The ending with the two of them was especially likable.

Dislikes: It seemed like everyone had a hundred different names that they went by and it took me forever to figure out who they were talking about usually.

TL;DR: Of the history plays I’ve read so far, this one is pretty enjoyable.

Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

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As the finale to Stephanie Perkins’s trilogy, this book does not disappoint. My friend and I each bought this book over Spring Break to read together. We completely devoured it in the span of one weekend. The whole time, we texted each other back and forth with lots of exclamation points and general excitement. Basically, it was good. really good.

Rating: [4/5]

Reading Challenge: A book set somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit

Summary: Isla has always liked Josh, ever since freshman year. But she’s too shy to talk to him, so mostly she just admires him from afar. However, after she has her wisdom teeth out over the summer, the drugs give Isla the bit of courage she needs to approach him. After that, it seems like everything changes for Isla, and once school starts again, they start growing closer to each other.

Likes: This book is different from the other two in the series, but not in a bad way. Unlike the other books, Isla doesn’t have plans for the future and part of the plot involves her trying to figure out what she wants from life. It’s always quite, shall we say, steamier than the other books. As always, I love the author’s vibrant characters and picture-perfect settings. This book also represented high-functioning autism in a very accurate and tasteful way, which was a pleasant surprise.

Dislikes: There really wasn’t much I disliked about this book. I wished we could have seen a little more of Cricket and Lola, since Lola and the Boy Next Door had so much of Anna and Etienne, but that’s just a personal preference.

TL;DR: I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes contemporary YA, romance, or who’ve read the other books in the series. I would also recommend this series to anyone who’s looking for something light or fluffy to read.

In Retrospect by Robert S. McNamara

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I had to read this book for my Post 1945 US History class. Believe me, I would not have picked this up on my own merit. I may have enjoyed it more if I didn’t have to read the whole thing over one weekend.

Rating: [1/5]

Reading Challenge: A book with more than 500 pages

Summary: This book is a memoir by the former Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara. He was the longest-serving Secretary of Defense in American history, serving both the Kennedy and Johnson presidencies. The memoir covers his early life and his involvement with the Vietnam War under both presidential regimes.

Likes: There were a few really interesting personal anecdotes about how the public reacted to the Vietnam War and how his family handled the situations. Those are the kinds of things you don’t normally learn in history books.

Dislikes: The book was incredibly long and not that interesting. Most of it was all about how everyone was confused about what to do.

TL;DR: Read this book if you really like history or have a special interest in the Vietnam War.