Reviews

2017 Reading Wrap-Up: Books #31-35

Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow – 4 stars

So it took me just about 4 and a half months to read this. And it’s not that I didn’t enjoy it, it’s just that I would pick it up, read a chapter or two and then put it back down for the first couple of chapters. But once I got through about a third of the book, it got much easier to read more than just one or two chapters at once.

It was really interesting to read about the parts where it was clear that it was used by Lin Manuel-Miranda for the musical. But it was also really interesting to read about all of the in-between parts, such as the creation of the banking/financial system of America. I am hella jealous of how much this sassy founding father wrote during his short life.

This was a chunk-er of a book, and I’m glad that I read it because I had honestly forgot a lot about the early beginnings of America. It was clear that Chernow did his research for this book and I think he portrayed the different characters well (Jefferson, Adams, and Burr are quite frankly assholes, hot dang).

I must admit that I totally imagined the original Broadway cast while reading this and I must also admit that in doing so, I ended up increasing my enjoyment of the book.

Alexander Hamilton

A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi – 5 stars

Squeeeeee!

Roshani Chokshi is now an auto-buy author for me and is easily becoming one of my favorite authors. She does such an amazing job creating her characters and her writing is just so beautiful.

Though I didn’t love this quite as much as I loved The Star-Touched Queen, I absolutely adored this book. The only reason why it took me a couple of days to read it is because I had two 12-hour shifts at the hospital and studying that I had to do. Lol.

I absolutely love Gauri and Vikram. I am a sucker for a slow-burn romance, and Chokshi delivers it so well here. I love that each of them are strong in their own way and yet, they become stronger together. I love that they know just how to get on each other’s nerves. I just love them so much.

I also have a very soft spot in my heart for Aasha. I loved seeing her war between who she is and who she wishes she could be. And I love how her story ended up.

I just really really love this book and I can’t really think of anything else coherent to say because I just wanna sit here in all of my happiness that came with this book.

A Crown of Wishes

The Heroes of Olympus: The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan – 5 stars

This was a great first book of a series. I thought that Riordan did a great job of setting up the conflict for the rest of the series while still wrapping up the story of the book nicely. I did think the plot was a little predictable since Riordan seems to have a formula for it, but I still liked it.

I really enjoy the characters of Piper, Leo, and Jason. I’m not sure if it’s just that I prefer Riordan’s older characters or if it’s just that I’m used to his writing now. I do love that we get appearances from Annabeth, Thalia, Rachel, and Chiron.

I am really interested to see how everything works out between the Roman and Greek demigods. I really am enjoying that aspect of the book. Especially the idea of the gods having different personalities in each form. I did know that going in, but I like Riordan’s take on it.

The Lost Hero

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher – 3.5 stars

I reread this because of the new Netflix series and also because I feel like I might have been un-necessarily harsh in my original review. I also feel like I might have missed some key points that would drastically change how I view the story and I want to be as fair as possible in my review.

So I read this almost a year ago and my feelings have definitely changed. I think it’s because I paid closer attention this read through.

I can’t take back what I said in my previous review about my thoughts on Hannah’s depression. But I can admit that I was wrong for questioning her. Again, I think it’s because I was just trying to speed through the book to get it back to the library so I wasn’t paying attention to what I was reading.

I also think part of it was that I was trying too hard to have her depression match mine even a little bit. I’ve never been suicidal, nor have I been diagnosed with depression, but that does not mean that I don’t have it. So when I knew that this book was beloved, I was hoping to read about someone going through what I’ve experienced. And that is not fair and I do regret that that was how my thought process went. I don’t really know what to say other than I am glad that I re-read this. Especially considering that I want to go into pediatric nursing. It was a wake up call that I really need to pay attention to my patients. I thought that I was pretty open-minded when it came to mental illnesses, but this re-read definitely helped me see that I need to take a step back and check my preconceived notions and make sure that I don’t try to put someone in a box. Mental illnesses come in different shapes and sizes so to speak and it’s important to remember that.

I still have a HUGE problem with Mr. Porter. Like, I was even more pissed this time around about his lack of action. And I still hope that someone reported the crimes that were relayed by Hannah.

I think that I got more out of this read through because I actually understood what Asher was trying to do with this book. He was trying to point out that our actions (or even inactions) impact those around us. I’m still not convinced that the way he went about doing it was the best, but I do appreciate what he was trying to convey.

I don’t really know what else to say. I still enjoy the audiobook version and recommend it to anyone who is interested in reading this. Especially given the cassette tape aspect of the book. I definitely still have problems with this book, but I do see the merit in it. And I am thoroughly looking forward to watching the Netflix show.

Thirteen Reasons Why

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum – 4 stars

This was such a fun, quick read! The Wizard of Oz is one of my absolute all-time favorite movies. Just ask my mother. When I was four, I would watch it every single day when I came home from pre-school. I also absolutely adore the musical Wicked, and while this is obviously not that story, I was still super excited to be in the land of Oz.

I absolutely love all of the characters in this story. Especially our main troupe of misfits – Dorothy, Toto, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion. I love how while there were obviously similarities to the movie, it was different enough that I was engaged the entire time I was reading. And I like that we get to see all of the witches and different lands of Oz.

Also, I highly recommend checking out the audiobook narrated by Anne Hathaway. She does such a great job with the different characters and it was so wonderful. Between this and the Rachel McAdams audiobook of Anne of Green Gables, I am living for celebrity narrated children’s classics.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Reviews

2017 Reading Wrap-Up: Books #26-30

The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler – 4 stars

I can’t put my finger on why this wasn’t a five star read for me, but it just fell a little flat.

I appreciate the rawness of the monologues and the fact that I was uncomfortable when I was reading some of them. That means that they were making me think. I do think this is an important read and I am glad that I picked it up. I easily gave the monologues themselves 5 stars because of how personal they are and how I could relate to them in a way I didn’t expect.

I think one of my biggest issues was the fact that there was only one monologue for trans-women, so it kind of felt like it was excluding them in the discussion about women. Especially given the fact that V-Day is about fighting violence against women, and trans-women face some of the worst violence, it felt like a glaring omission to me. And yes, I realize that it is called The Vagina Monologues, but it just rubbed me (forgive the pun) the wrong way.

I thought that the additions at the end of the V-Day special were interesting because it let us see the impact V-Day is having on the world. They have accomplished so much, but we still have so far to go.

The Vagina Monologues

Wires and Nerve Volume 1 by Marissa Meyer – 5 stars

Iko is probably my favorite character from The Lunar Chronicles so I was ecstatic when I heard she was getting her own graphic novel. And I am happy to say that it did not disappoint.

I was a little apprehensive of the artwork when I first saw it, but I think that it really worked for the story. I also appreciate that due to the color scheme that was chosen, any blood from the fights is not in your face. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for it when I’m reading other graphic novels, but given the audience and the story, I appreciate the muted aspect of the violence.

It was just so much fun to see the entire gang. And I really enjoyed the new characters of the Kinneys. I know that we saw Sir Kinney in the other books, but he does play a bigger part in this. And I love the relationship between him and Iko. But I also loved Tressa. She was just so much fun!

I was so sad when it was over because I want to know what else happens! I want to continue seeing Iko being the badass, feminine, sassy person that she is. I also am so curious to see how the story goes from where it is to where it ends up in Stars Above. I cannot wait until volume 2!

Wires and Nerve

El Deafo by Cece Bell – 4 stars

This was so adorable!

I really love that this is a graphic novel for kids that focuses on not only what it’s like to live with a severe hearing impairment but also on teaching others how to interact with someone who has a hearing impairment. I love that whether or not you have a hearing impairment, you can related to a good majority of the stories. It features stories about trying to fit in, dealing with pushy friends, struggling at school, and first crushes.

The artwork is so cute and really conveys some great emotions. Even though the main audience for this is kids, I feel like anyone can read it and take something away from it. I also appreciate that Bell included an author’s note where she stressed that El Deafo is just her experience and that she is in no way speaking for all that are hard of hearing or Deaf.

Overall, this was a fantastic read and I think everyone should read it.

El Deafo

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander – 5 stars

What can I say? I’m Harry Potter trash. So when I heard that not only was there going to be a new edition of Fantastic Beasts but an audiobook narrated by Eddie Redmayne, I was sold.

I’m still in awe of the fact that Rowling came up with all of these creatures, what they look like, and their characteristics. My only complaint is that it isn’t longer and that there are several omissions of creatures mentioned throughout the Harry Potter series (such as hinkypunks and boggarts). I will never get tired of reading as much as I can about the wizarding world.

The audiobook is fantastic and it was like having Newt read it to me personally. If you can, I highly recommend checking it out.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery – 4 stars

This was the first time that I read Anne of Green Gables, and I must say, I really enjoyed it. I honestly had no idea what the story was going into it other than the fact that it was set in Canada.

I overall really loved Anne. She is smart, spunky, full of imagination, and so utterly driven. However, there were quite a few times that I was a little annoyed by her (especially when she went on long spiels about whatever is on her mind). It also was a little hard to imagine that she had so many disastrous things happen to her constantly. But like I said, overall, she was a wonderful character.

I also really ended up enjoying all of the side characters. And though I did expect a certain character’s death, I was still heartbroken when it happened.

Montgomery’s world is so easy to imagine as she does a beautiful job of painting a picture of what it would be like to live there. However, there were a couple of times where Montgomery’s writing was not my favorite. By the end of the book, I was over the fact that anytime Matthew said anything, he started with “Well, now, …”

I would highly recommend checking out the audiobook narrated by Rachel McAdams. She does such a great job with the story and it really enhanced my reading experience.

Anne of Green Gables