Friday, March 31, 2017

Pocket Book Reviews {March 2017}

Every time I make a dent in my reading jar list of unread books, I end up getting more books! At least the few books I got were ebooks and don't take up any physical space, but I still had to add them to my jar. One day that jar will be near empty and I'll read books as fast I get them. Never mind, that's never ever going to happen!

I'm currently at 23 books read out of my 85 book goal. How's your reading goal going so far?

Waking Gods (Sleeping Giants #2)*
(5 hearts)

Written by Sylvain Neuvel; humankind faces a nightmare invasion scenario made real, as more colossal machines touch down across the globe. But Rose and her team at the Earth Defense Corps refuse to surrender. They can turn the tide if they can unlock the last secrets of an advanced alien technology. The greatest weapon humanity wields is knowledge in a do-or-die battle to inherit the Earth . . . and maybe even the stars.

Can I give this book 10 stars please?! It starts off ten years after the first book and begins a bit slow, but once a new giant robot alien lands in the middle of London things start to pick up really fast. Sleeping Giants introduced us to our robot Themis and this group of clever and crazy cast of characters, like Rose and Kara and Vincent and "our friend." In Waking Gods, we really get to care about these people and fear for them and want them to survive what could be the end of the world.

Thirteen bigger, stronger, more advanced alien robots land all around the world and the ensuing chaos had me turning the pages as fast as I could read the words. I had to know what was going to happen next! I don't want to give away too much, but let's just say that shit gets real.

One of the things I really enjoyed about this book, and the first one, is that it's a thought-provoking sci-fi. It's sci-fi with a brain and a heart. Eugene is a mysterious man, but his conversations with "our friend" and Rose made me think about life as a human being, our shortcomings and strengths, possible life outside our little planet, that other species would have different cultures and ideas and methods and beliefs. It's like anthropology on a whole other level. It's fascinating and terrifying and amazing. Reading this book made me think about things I never considered before, which is cool in and of itself, but it helps that this book is entertaining as hell too!

*I received a copy from NetGalley.

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We Should All Be Feminists
(5 hearts)

Written by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie; With humor and levity, here Adichie offers readers a unique definition of feminism for the twenty-first century—one rooted in inclusion and awareness. She shines a light not only on blatant discrimination, but also the more insidious, institutional behaviors that marginalize women around the world, in order to help readers of all walks of life better understand the often masked realities of sexual politics. 
"Anger has a long history of bringing out positive change. But I am also hopeful, because I believe deeply in the ability of human beings to remake themselves for the better."

This book is wonderful! It's so tiny that it took me less then 45 minutes to read it, so there's no excuse for anyone NOT to read it! It's enlightening and moving and hopeful. This book states so plainly that women should be inherently treated equally to men and yet it's our culture that makes this not so. But people form culture, so it's up to us, our anger, our intelligence, to make these changes. It's up to us to stand up to cultural norms and reform them into a culture of equality.

Read this book now!

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Maybe In Another Life
(3 hearts)

Written by Taylor Jenkins Reid; At the age of twenty-nine, Hannah Martin still has no idea what she wants to do with her life. Hannah moves back to her hometown of Los Angeles and lives in her best friend Gabby’s guestroom. Hannah goes out to a bar one night with Gabby and meets up with her high school boyfriend, Ethan. Just after midnight, Gabby asks Hannah if she’s ready to go. A moment later, Ethan offers to give her a ride later if she wants to stay. Hannah hesitates. What happens if she leaves with Gabby? What happens if she leaves with Ethan?

I seem to be in the minority of thinking this book was good but nothing amazing. I liked Hannah and following both tracks of her story. She's a girl who at first has no idea what she wants to do or where she belongs and only once she meets up with her best friend Gabby in LA does she feel at home again, which I liked. I loved their friendship so much! It was real! They had weird inside jokes and teased each other and were always there for each other during hard times.

My main issue with this book is that both timelines in Hannah's life ended up being almost identical. At first they were so different, but I wanted them to keep getting more different, but *SPOILER ALERT* the only difference is the men she ended up with and the baby. Even Gabby ended up with the same man. And she ended up being a nurse in both timelines. I wanted the end results to be glaringly different and they weren't at all.

Still, it was an interesting and enjoyable read.

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Ronit & Jamil
(2 hearts)

Written by Pamela L. Laskin; This novel in verse delivers a fresh and captivating retelling of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet that transports the star-crossed lovers to the modern-day Israeli-Palestinian conflict in Gaza. Ronit, an Israeli girl, lives on one side of the barrier fence. Jamil, a Palestinian boy, lives on the other side. Only miles apart but separated by generations of conflict—much more than just the concrete blockade between them.

It makes me so sad to give this book a bad review because I had such high hopes for it. A modern Romeo and Juliet set around the Israeli-Palestine border and told in verse sounds amazing and yet it fell short. Very short.

While at times the verse was pretty (I especially liked the two chapters from the fathers' perspectives), most of the time it was just confusing and repetitive. I think this book would've been so much better if it was told in narration. Then we would've gotten a better feel for the setting and the characters and the food. Because in verse, it was all told not shown. I couldn't see or taste or smell anything, which is a shame because the story mentions delicious food and walking in markets.

The other major problem are the characters: Ronit and Jamil sound exactly the same. Maybe that's intentional to show that Jews and Arabs aren't so different, but they had no personality differences. They talk about the same things in almost the exact same way. Narration instead of verse could've helped with this too. 

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I've Got Your Number
(3 hearts)

Written by Sophie Kinsella; Poppy Wyatt has never felt luckier. She is about to marry her ideal man, Magnus Tavish, but in one afternoon her “happily ever after” begins to fall apart. Not only has she lost her engagement ring but her phone is stolen. She spots an abandoned phone in a trash can. Except that the phone’s owner, Sam Roxton, doesn’t agree. He wants his phone back and doesn’t appreciate Poppy reading his messages and wading into his personal life.

I'd say the first 75% of this book is 4 stars and the last 25% is 3 stars, so overall it's really a 3.5 stars. I really, really enjoyed the first half immensely. Poppy is an absolute delight of a character. She's so likable and kind and I want to be friends with her. The story idea is so cute and makes for great comedy and I had a fun time following Poppy's misadventures while she tries to locate her ring and keeps getting involved in Sam's business. I like Sam too, though I wanted to like him more, I wanted the character to open up more by the end, but he was still a bit of a closed shell.

However, it's the last 25%-ish of the book that got on my nerves. [Read my spoilery review here.] Despite the annoyance at the end, I still enjoyed this and will continue to read her books because they're so charming!

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The Bicycle Spy
(4 hearts)

Written by Yona Zeldis McDonough; Marcel loves riding his bicycle, whether he's racing through the streets of his small town in France or making bread deliveries for his parents' bakery. He dreams of someday competing in the Tour de France, but ever since Germany's occupation of France began the race has been canceled. Now there are soldiers everywhere. Then Marcel learns two big secrets, and he realizes there are worse things about the war than a canceled race. 

A simple but not less any emotional tale of a boy who lives in German-occupied France during World War II. Marcel discovers that his parents are part of the resistance and are using loaves of bread to send messages, and he gets involved when he finds out a friend of his needs their help. It's a simplistic story since it's for kids, but the fear of what people experienced back then remains in the story and adds depth and emotion. A wonderful story!

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Have you read any of these books?

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Have a lovely day!
~Sara ♥

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