Book Review: Internment by Samira Ahmed // powerful themes, but disappointing execution

Title: Internment

Author: Samira Ahmed

Published: March 19, 2019

Pages: 386

Genre: Young Adult, Fiction, Contemporary

Amazon / Barnes & Nobles / Book Depository / Goodreads

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I have very mixed feelings about this book.

There’s no denying that the media and American politicians have capitalized on identity politics and racism falsely paraded as patriotism in order to socially isolate citizens into separate sides that need choosing. People are quick to write others off as another “liberal”, “conservative”, “immigrant”, “Trump supporter”, or whatever necessary label they can sneer at while they keep close company with a group that feeds their intransigence and confirmation bias.

More than ever, fostering honest and civil discussions between the divvied up parties should be a priority of any concerned American, no matter how frustrating or futile they seem. A glance back at just the last 100 years of history reveals that putting up fences between our ideas of “us” and “them” is ignorant, childish, and extremely dangerous.

Ahmed wrote Internment as a warning of horrific history potentially repeating itself, this time with Muslims as the scapegoats.

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Book Review: The Wedding Party by Jasmine Guillory // a short and sweet hate-to-love contemporary

Title: The Wedding Party

Author: Jasmine Guillory

Published: July 16, 2019

Pages: 351

Genre: Romance, Fiction, Contemporary

Amazon / Barnes & Nobles / Book Depository / Goodreads

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This one’s for all you hate-to-love fans.

Maddie loved her best friend Alexa, but she could not stand Alexa’s other best friend Theo. She thought he was an arrogant career man who only knew how to talk about himself, while Theo thought that Maddie was self-absorbed and materialistic. After a fluke hookup between the two rivals, they swore that it would never happen again and that, more importantly, Alexa could never know. However, when Alexa announced that she would be getting married and that her two best friends would both be in the wedding party, Maddie and Theo knew that whatever was changing between them would be hard to keep secret.

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Audiobook Review: Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman // another (hilarious) favorite by Neil Gaiman

Title: Anansi Boys

Author: Neil Gaiman

Published: September 26, 2006

Length: 10 hours and 5 minutes

Genre: Fantasy, Fiction

Amazon / Barnes & Nobles / Book DepositoryGoodreads

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Neil Gaiman is two for two now.

Once upon a time, a *lonely middle schooler randomly plucked The Graveyard Book off the shelves of her school library. It was by an author named Neil Gaiman, the same man who wrote the scariest movie she had seen in her pubescent life, Coraline. The girl was temporarily transported to a cemetery in England where she fell in love with the ghosts, witches, and other mystical creatures who walked the grounds. The book became one of her most beloved memories.

For years, she told herself that she would visit further stories by the man who penned her favorite quote, “Wherever you go, you take yourself with you.” Finally, after a few years shy of a decade, she clicked play on an audiobook by the author in discussion and was once again immersed into a fantastical story that begun this time in… Florida.

*Lonely middle schooler was totally not me. I had level 10 people skills by the age of eleven that did not include hiding in the library during lunch 😬.
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Mini Book Reviews: Two Fluffy, Summer Romances—except not quite

Ahh, summer.

It’s the season for short, fluffy romances you can indulge in while being  b u r n t  a l i v e  by the sun. Ahh.

I haven’t read too many romances this summer, or this entire year for that matter. In fact, the two novels I’m about the review in this post are the only books I’ve read from the genre in the past few months. Maybe I’m growing old and bitter, or maybe it’s just the mood reader in me kicking in (may-haps both?).

I think what I like more than summer romances now though are books that are marketed as such, but actually place more emphasis on other plot-lines. That’s what these two stories have in common and why I enjoyed them. So, here are two fluffy, (sort-of) summer romance reviews:

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Book Review: Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel // an unsettling reflection on civilization

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Title: Station Eleven

Author: Emily St. John Mandel

Published: September 9, 2014

Pages: 336

Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopia

Amazon / Barnes & Nobles / Goodreads

Goodreads Description:An audacious, darkly glittering novel set in the eerie days of civilization’s collapse, Station Eleven tells the spellbinding story of a Hollywood star, his would-be savior, and a nomadic group of actors roaming the scattered outposts of the Great Lakes region, risking everything for art and humanity.

One snowy night a famous Hollywood actor slumps over and dies onstage during a production of King Lear. Hours later, the world as we know it begins to dissolve. Moving back and forth in time—from the actor’s early days as a film star to fifteen years in the future, when a theater troupe known as the Traveling Symphony roams the wasteland of what remains—this suspenseful, elegiac, spellbinding novel charts the strange twists of fate that connect five people: the actor, the man who tried to save him, the actor’s first wife, his oldest friend, and a young actress with the Traveling Symphony, caught in the crosshairs of a dangerous self-proclaimed prophet.

Sometimes terrifying, sometimes tender, Station Eleven tells a story about the relationships that sustain us, the ephemeral nature of fame, and the beauty of the world as we know it.

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After putting this book on the back-burner for over two years, it has officially made it to my all-time favorites list.

First off, it was not what I was expecting at all. I committed the age-old crime of judging Station Eleven by its cover and, based off the (truly minimal) stars on the front, I assumed the story would take place in space. That, plus the fact that Station Eleven sounded like a space station (which I technically wasn’t wrong to believe), the book gave me the impression of being a space opera. While that wasn’t the case, I was pleasantly surprised that the book was so much better than my initial estimation of it.

I know some of you are thinking, “But, the book is clearly not about space in the synopsis,” and, I agree. Buuuut, 𝘐 𝘢𝘭𝘴𝘰 𝘥𝘪𝘥𝘯’𝘵 𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘺 𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘴𝘺𝘯𝘰𝘱𝘴𝘪𝘴 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘫𝘶𝘴𝘵 𝘬𝘯𝘦𝘸 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘐 𝘸𝘢𝘯𝘵𝘦𝘥 𝘵𝘰 𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘣𝘰𝘰𝘬 𝘣𝘦𝘤𝘢𝘶𝘴𝘦 𝘰𝘧 𝘢𝘭𝘭 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘩𝘺𝘱𝘦 𝘢𝘳𝘰𝘶𝘯𝘥 𝘪𝘵 𝘴𝘰 𝘴𝘩𝘩𝘩𝘩𝘩. We’ve already established that I’m a sheep.
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Book Review: Sourdough by Robin Sloan // wtf did I just read

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Title: Sourdough

Author: Robin Sloan

Published: September 5, 2017

Pages: 259

Genre: Fiction, Magical Realism, Contemporary

Amazon / Barnes & Nobles / Goodreads

Goodreads Description: Lois Clary, a software engineer at a San Francisco robotics company, codes all day and collapses at night. When her favourite sandwich shop closes up, the owners leave her with the starter for their mouthwatering sourdough bread.
Lois becomes the unlikely hero tasked to care for it, bake with it and keep this needy colony of microorganisms alive.  Soon she is baking loaves daily and taking them to the farmer’s market, where an exclusive close-knit club runs the show.
When Lois discovers another, more secret market, aiming to fuse food and technology, a whole other world opens up. But who are these people, exactly?

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How do I even begin to write a review for this book?

The most basic and superficial description of this novel is that it is a book about baking bread. Your initial reaction to this statement might be to dismiss this book, and I get it—who wants to read a story about bread? Nonetheless, Sourdough won the 2017 Goodreads Choice Award for Fiction, a point that prevented me from disregarding the novel and ultimately made me decide to give it a shot.

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Mini Book Reviews: 3 Female-Authored, YA Contemporaries

In celebration of March being Women’s History Month, I aimed to exclusively read female-authored books for the thirty-one days.

With the exception of one book, I made good on my goal and ended up having my best reading month this year. It’s really not much of a feat considering how busy I was in January and February and the complete disregard of my TBR pile that ensued. But, I’ll accept anything remotely close to win—it keeps me motivated 😅.

If you read my Women’s History Month Read-a-thon, you’ll know that the majority of the novels I read last month were young adult (YA) contemporaries. It wasn’t on purpose. ɪ ᴅɪᴅ ʀᴇᴀᴅ ᴀ ʙᴏᴏᴋ ʙʏ ᴏᴘʀᴀʜ. I think it just played out that way because I’m a giant mood reader, so I peruse the blogosphere when picking out my next reads. That results in me repeatedly reading YA since I mostly follow YA-oriented book blogs.

Don’t get me wrong though, there’s nothing wrong with YA. In fact, I made this conclusion after my read-a-thon:

There are so many brilliant women contributing their powerful thoughts for a more competent, diverse, and tolerant society—and there’s no place where it’s more apparent than YA bookshelves.

Groundbreaking.

Anyways, shall we get on with the mini reviews?

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