Book Reviews, diverse books, Nonfiction

Hidden Figures Book Review

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Hidden Figures was a really fantastic read. It was crazy to me when I started the book because I knew I would be reading about some amazing black women that I never had the opportunity to learn about before. I went to several schools where the majority of my classes were black students and this wasn’t something we learned about in the curriculum of our history classes. I feel like that is truly unfortunate. I saw so many people saying the same thing when the movie first started making a buzz.

This book is really just the facts of what happened to these women. We get the background on these amazing women. We learn about the beginnings of NASA and America’s journey to being able to put a man on the moon while following some amazing black women who helped make it happen. We learn about their passion for math and get an idea of where that passion grew for some of them. We also see how these bright women still struggled to get as far as they did because of the color of their skin.

If you are expecting more of a plot driven thing you might be disappointed as I’ve seen some people were. I’d say go see the movie for more of that even though I haven’t seen it yet myself. I definitely get the impression from what friends who have read the book and seen the movie. This book could act as great background information for the characters you see in the film.

It feels academic in nature. Almost like a textbook which I kind of liked honestly. It didn’t take away from it for me at all. Maybe it’s because I didn’t go into it expecting something else. I wanted to learn about these women that I had not before. I didn’t see the movie so I’m not aware of how it’s different in the film version. I went in with just different expectations and those expectations were met. I learned so much from this book.

I feel that it holds it’s own as a text personally. Margot Lee Shetterly really was able to capture the lives of these women and show what they were passionate about in a way that really captivated me just with the facts. Just by telling us what they went through. Explaining how it felt to be put in the situations they were. The arcs of Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, and Katherine Johnson in this book really make me want to see the film as soon as I can.

 

 

Book Reviews, Nonfiction, Quotes

The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher

26025989I finally was able to read Carrie Fisher’s Princess Diarist. The book had been on hold for a few months before I finally received the email that it was waiting for me at the library. This was such an enjoyable read for me. Carrie Fisher’s sense of humor is excellent. She’s able to see the humor in things to her life in a way that is really great. I cannot wait to read her other book. I’m thinking of actually picking it up when I think I’ll have time to read it since the library would take a while I’m sure. Also, I need to slow down on the library books. Here are some of my favorite quotes from the novel because I felt like this book is so quotable and special. I didn’t expect to gain nearly as much from this as I did. My favorite of my favorites is …

“The one I wore to kill Jabba (my favorite moment in my own personal film history), which I highly recommend your doing: find an equivalent of killing a giant space slug in your head and celebrate that.”
Carrie Fisher, The Princess Diarist

This first quote had me shook, to be honest with you. I was sitting there thinking about my life and thinking about what the equivalent to slaying Jabba the hut would be for me. It didn’t take long to figure that out and it put some things in perspective for me. I fell off from writing last month but jumped right back in after reading this book. It was something I really needed that has been difficult with life recently. This was a big moment for me in the book even if there were many other moments as well. I’m in such a transitional period in my life right now. I think that’s the 20’s for a lot of people. I’m just trying to figure out where I want to be and who I want to be. It just made me think a lot.

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“I need to write. It keeps me focused for long enough to complete thoughts. To let each train of thought run to its conclusion and let a new one begin. It keeps me thinking. I’m afraid that if I stop writing I’ll stop thinking and start feeling.”

“I call people sometimes hoping not only that they’ll verify the fact that I’m alive but that they’ll also, however indirectly, convince me that being alive is an appropriate state for me to be in. Because sometimes I don’t think it’s such a bright idea. Is it worth the trouble it takes trying to live life so that someday you get something worthwhile out of it, instead of it almost always taking worthwhile things out of you?”

“It’s not nice being inside my head. It’s a nice place to visit but I don’t want to live in here. It’s too crowded; too many traps and pitfalls.”

“I’m frightened of the power I have given him over me and of how he will almost certainly abuse it, merely by not being fully aware he has it.”

“I’ve got to learn something from my mistakes instead of establishing a new record to break.”

“Do not let what you think they think of you make you stop and question everything you are.”

“It was one movie. It wasn’t supposed to do what it did—nothing was supposed to do that. Nothing ever had. Movies were meant to stay on the screen, flat and large and colorful, gathering you up into their sweep of story, carrying you rollicking along to the end, then releasing you back into your unchanged life. But this movie misbehaved. It leaked out of the theater, poured off the screen, affected a lot of people so deeply that they required endless talismans and artifacts to stay connected to it.”

 

 

 

Book Reviews, diverse books, LGBTQIA+, YA

Not Your Sidekick by C.B. Lee Review

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I enjoyed the story for sure. I had a hard time not questioning the logistics of the world but questions aside it is really interesting. A solar flare gave a lot of people powers. Meta Humans galore. They are classed at different levels with the higher level becoming superheroes. It is really interesting but felt like I needed more detail still.

I love the representation in the story. I don’t read many books with bisexual main characters in this kind of genre. Jess is also an Asian protagonist. I’m all about superhero stories with QPOC characters. It was great to see how her family’s background affected their life in different ways.I also like the way the main relationship went overall. It was a cute pairing. Felt a bit too fluffy for the story at times but it was nice.

There was too hinting sometimes. I figured out a lot of things really easily. I think the first reveal that Jess has no clue about is something that yeah the reader is probably supposed to figure out. If not it was okay that I did. It was a type of dramatic irony knowing the thing that Jess didn’t.I feel like the other reveals may have had too much laid out too, though. I wanted less predictable in those later chapters.

So Jess has it pretty rough in this book after things really kick off. The twist and turns n her life are a lot to handle and she really handles it pretty well. I also felt like there was a definite hero journey for her that coincided with her deciding she wanted to be her own person. She wasn’t going to live in the shadow of her family or just do what they wanted her to do in order to get by.She is going to do things for herself.

There also is a trans character in this story named Bells. It looks like he will be the main character of the sequel. I’m excited to see the continuation of the group’s story in the following book for sure.

I really wish more had happened by the end of this one or that more have been accomplished. Even knowing that there will be another book I was a bit dissatisfied with the end. The sequel does come out this year so I hope I’m able to get it sooner rather than later. It looks like it will be focusing on Bells like I said. I am glad I read this. Jess is a great main character and I hope she and everyone else makes some major progress dealing with the situation they are all in next time.

ARC's, LGBTQIA+, YA

Dreadnought by April Daniels

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Danny Tozer has a problem: she just inherited the powers of the world’s greatest superhero. Until Dreadnought fell out of the sky and died right in front of her, she was trying to keep people from finding out she’s transgender. But then her second-hand superpowers transformed her body into what she’s always thought it should be. Now there’s no hiding that she’s a girl.

It should be the happiest time of her life, but between her father’s dangerous obsession with curing her girlhood, her best friend suddenly acting like he’s entitled to date her, and the classmate who is secretly a masked vigilante, Danny’s first weeks living in a body that fits her are more difficult and complicated than she could have imagined.

She doesn’t have much time to adjust. Dreadnought’s murderer, a cyborg named Utopia, still haunts the streets of New Port City. If Danny can’t sort through the confusion of coming out, master her powers, and stop Utopia in time, humanity faces extinction.

I was lucky enough to get a Netgalley Arc of April Daniels debut novel Dreadnought. Dreadnought follows Danielle Tozer. Danielle accidentally stumbles upon a superhero and villain fight and ends up gaining new powers and the body that she has always wanted.

Danielle has a lot of self-doubts that she has to contend with throughout this story for a large part of it. A large part of that is because of the way her father treats her and always has. You can see how the way Danielle thinks about herself is linked to her father pretty early. When Danielle thinks she’s stupid for something she did or isn’t good enough to be a hero. It’s because that’s the way her father treats her and what he calls her often.

Danielle has some really strong moments in this story where she stands up for herself.Really early on. She is able to stand up for herself against the legion of superheroes.When her friend starts treating her differently. Then still can’t do the same with her father. I thought it was such an interesting relationship to see play out in this. She’s really been emotionally abused by her father for years and you see how much it affects her life.

The superheroes in this story have great names. Wonder how April Daniels came up with some of them. It’s a really great assortment of characters even the ones we don’t learn much about. I do wish we had learned more about the heroes in the legion. I really liked a few of them.Magma and Doc Impossible are the best. I loved them. I want them to be my mentors, please.

Danielle has such a great hero journey in this. It follows the motions of things you see in a lot of origin story comics for heroes. Her first big time-saving people is really amazing. I was so happy for her as she was doing it. You could tell right then that she should be a hero. Not because these powers fell into her lap but because she wants to help people. It’s kind of the reasons she got her powers in the first place. She’s not a person that can walk away when someone is hurting.

She also had some great team up moments with Calamity that every hero needs to have.Patrolling and investigating. She goes one on one with someone who has powers. She consistently is learning, getting better, and saving people throughout this. All while still having that self-doubt for a large part of the story. She doesn’t allow herself to feel like she is as special as she is.

The claiming of superhero colors was such a powerful moment in the story. I recently wrote about how the claiming of one’s name can be important in a review of a different book and I felt like Danielle’s finally deciding on her superhero colors and superhero name was that moment in this story. She’s claiming who she is.

There will be a second book and I’m excited to see what challenges Danielle faces next. Also really want to see where Calamity goes after what happens at the end of the book. More people should read this book and make fanart if you can. I can’t make fanart but I want to see fanart for this book so badly. Definitely, pick it up.

 

 

 

Comics, diverse books, LGBTQIA+, Readathon

#DiverseAthon Potential Reads

It’s time for the first Diverseathon of 2017. Super excited. I am the biggest mood reader ever. I will stop a book just because I’m not feeling the genre at the moment so I will be doing a very long list of potential reads for this Diverseathon. My list consists of primarily queer lit as it normally does. I did try to focus on books with queer characters of color a bit more and get some Own Voices books in the list as well. You can look at my rundown on my Youtube post or read through my choices here. Check out Naz’s DiverseAthon post on his blog ReadDiversebooks.com  for more information on the readathon.

 

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None of The Above is the book of The month for The Rainbow Library. Members of the group will be posting reviews all this week. Super excited to finish this story. It follows a teenager who finds out they are intersex. I definitely have not read much on intersex people before and I’m glad I’m doing it with a group. There has been some great discussion around the book already.

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Dreadnought is a story about a trans girl whose body transforms when she accidentally gains superpowers. The book comes out on January 24th. I have a digital ARC and am really enjoying it so far. About 30% into the story. Hoping to see a bit of a hero journey with this character.

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I loved More Happy Than not. I feel like Adam Silvera’s new book might wreck me like it did but I’m excited. The main character is gay. He’s dealing with the death of his first love. He has OCD I believe. I definitely want to read a story with a character who has OCD and have for a while.

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I didn’t finish this during #DAReadahon so I hope I can finish it now. Really love the main character from the part I did read. I’ve wanted to read more stories with LGBTQ + Asian protagonist for a while.

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I am so excited to read this story. I love queer superhero stories. This one follows a teenage superhero named Javier Medina. You get to see how he balances or fails to balance his life as a junior superhero and his life at school.

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A revelatory novel about being queer and Muslim, set in war-torn Iraq in 2003.Ramy is a young gay Iraqi struggling to find a balance between his sexuality, religion, and culture. I’m excited to read this story. I feel like it’s going to be intense and wonderful. Really happy I got a copy of this novel.

 

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This is written by the author of Nimona. It’s been on my radar for a while. It has queer characters and that’s really all I know right now. Hopefully, I will like it. Definitely will get to this soon since it’s due back to my library in a few days.

 

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The is a story based on the Green Turtle. The Green Turtle was the first Asian American Superhero in golden age comics. Super excited to read this. It’s own voices with the writer and artist. The art looks so good.

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Teen guys who are neighbors. One is a popular jock and the other is a nerd. We get to see them fall for each other. Super excited. Reminds me of the gay version of You Belong With Me by Taylor Swift. Hope I love it.

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I’ve wanted to read an Elliot Wake book for a while. I have followed Elliot Wake on Instagram and twitter and am really excited to finally read one of his books. I love that this one follows a Vlogger who is also secretly a vigilante. I’m excited to see how this story goes.

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Two awesome authors writing two gay characters who meet during Pride weekend and have an adventure. I love books that focus on friendships. Especially queer friendships. This book has been on my shelf unread for way too long. I even have two copies. I need to read this soon.

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Last potential read is Boy Robot. I’ve wanted to read this since I found out Simon Curtis was writing it. I love his music. I’m excited to see the story of Isaak in this. He finds out he’s a robot and his adoptive parents are killed in one night. I know this book is LGBTQ in some way and I am excited to read it.

This is my tentative TBR for this week. Super excited to read some of these great books. Also really excited for the #Diversathon twitter chats. The conversations were amazing last year and I can’t wait to see what everyone has to say this year.

 

Comics, Top Ten Tuesday

Authors I Discovered This Year

I got a great amount of reading done this year and a lot of it is from authors I never read until this year.Here is a list of some of my favorite New to me authors.Some from debut authors, some from classic authors, and some from comic writers. Check out Brokeandbookish.com for Top Ten Tuesday topics every week.

1. Shaun David Hutchinson 

I don’t know why it took me so long to read a Shaun David Hutchinson book. I started off this year by reading Five Stages of Andrew Brawley pretty early on then reading We Art The Ants. I love Shaun David Hutchinson’s mind. We Are The Ants is a book that should have gotten way more attention this year. It’s an emotional journey with really compelling characters. Plus a big red button that can save the earth from Aliens.One of my most anticipated releases for next year is At The Edge of the Universe. I really can’t wait for the book to come out. I’m a little obsessed in a good way.

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2. Caleb Roehrig 

I was so excited when I got an advanced copy of this book in the #YaPride challenge unboxing and that’s an understatement if you’ve seen the video. Last Seen leaving is one of my favorite books of the year and it’s a debut work. I loved the pace of the novel. It had such a compelling coming out story thrown in with a great mystery. I’d love to see this get some kind of movie adaption because visually this could be a great film.

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3. G. Willow Wilson

Ms. Marvel is probably my favorite comic of the year and the first time I was caught up on a comic book series. Read all five volumes over a couple of months because I love following Kamala’s journey. She also works on Unbeatable Squirrel Girl which I’ve been enjoying a lot so far.

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4. Truman Capote

I started off by reading Truman Capote’s short stories which are really amazing. Then read Breakfast At Tiffany’s and loved it. I read a couple of biographies about Truman Capote this year too. He had a really interesting life.Need to get my hands on his remaining works.A Christmas memory may be my favorite story I’ve read from him.One of the sweetest stories I’ve ever read.

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5. Annabeth Albert 

I thought i read some works from this author last year but according to Goodreads, my fist time was earlier this year with Waitin For Clark. The #Gaymers series is what made me a huge fan. Annabeth Albert writes romance stories between men that are realistic and beautiful. I have a thing for road trip books too so The #gaymers series is completely my thing. Reading Albert’s new book Wrapped Together right now and I’m loving it.

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6. Riley Redgate

I was pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed Seven Ways We Lie. I often have found myself thinking back to this story over the year. Redgate did a great job with telling so many very different and compelling stories. including great representation of a character on the ace spectrum.

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7. Tim Federle

 

The Great American Whatever had a relatable MC. A creative style I wasn’t expecting. Plus one of the best friendships I’ve seen in a book this year. I really love Tim Federle’s writing. So much wit and this book actually made me laugh at points. I absolutely need to read more of his books next year.

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8. Steve Orlando 

I’ve now read both volumes of Midnighter and I’m obsessed.Super happy with the direction Steve Orlando has gone with the character right now and a lot of the supporting character as well.The world building is fantastic too. Planning on reading some of his older series of other characters soon. Virgil is next on my list right now.

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9. Michael Barakiva

I loved One Man Guy by Michael Barakiva. It was a story i thought I’d like but didn’t know how humorous and fun the story would actually be. It still touched on many serious issues as well. Cute teen romance with an interesting coming out Arc. Excited to hopefully read more from this author next year.

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10. Gary L. Blackwood 

This year I finished my first ever trilogy. I liked the first book of the trilogy so much I had my boyfriend get me the other two so I could read them as soon as possible. I wasn’t disappointed with the trilogy at all and had to put the author of that trilogy on this list. I’m a big Shakespeare Stealer fan so.go check out these books.

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Book Reviews, LGBTQIA+

Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova

 

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Alex is a bruja, the most powerful witch in a generation…and she hates magic. At her Deathday celebration, Alex performs a spell to rid herself of her power. But it backfires. Her whole family vanishes into thin air, leaving her alone with Nova, a brujo boy she can’t trust. A boy whose intentions are as dark as the strange markings on his skin.

The only way to get her family back is to travel with Nova to Los Lagos, a land in-between, as dark as Limbo and as strange as Wonderland…

I love books with magic. I love books with queer characters. So I knew I’d probably at least like this book which had both. This book also has really interesting family dynamics. A magic system and culture that is much more diverse than I’ve seen in other books. They are brujas, not witches. Plus, a really awesome protagonist that I rooted for throughout the whole book.

Even when Alex was making bad decisions like one that would probably get her entire family sent to another dimension I understood what she was going through and wished the best for her.I love the journey that Alex goes on in this book. From not wanting her powers to doing whatever she needs to do to get her family back.

I never really liked Nova or Rishi much throughout the book. I was following the journey for Alex. Rishi defaults to comedy intense situations sometimes and it didn’t really work for me. It just annoyed me sometimes. Nova’s attitude just really ticked me off. Especially his attitudes toward the fauns and other creatures of Los Lagos. That may be because the creatures stories affected me. I was really feeling what they had to go through under the rule of The Devourer. Especially Madra and Agosto doing what they could for their people.

The conflict is mostly external conflict on the surface even with all the changes Alex goes through and I didn’t have a problem with that. I liked that they focused on the task they set out to accomplish on their journey. However, I felt like there wasn’t enough in some ways. Seeing Alex’s development more or her relationships. It may just be because of not really liking what we see of Nova and Rishi but I don’t think it was that necessarily. The story didn’t feel like I thought it should by the end.

Still, there was a lot of striking language and images.The way Los Lagos and the magic is described really grabbed me. Plus so many other wonderful things about the book. I heard there will be two more books. one from each of Alex’s sisters and I’m excited for that. Especially if we get more magic.

Readathon, Uncategorized

A Very Pokemon TBR #ReadThemAllThon

I’m doing the  Pokemon Indigo League #ReadThemAllThon that was created by ReadAtMidnight. Go check out their awesome blog. PokemonGo is my obsession of the month right now so this came up at a good time.There are eight challenges for the readathon that runs for three weeks I believe. Not sure if I will do all the challenges because I am really a mood reader,but I’ve picked out some books for each anyway. Started one of these books early because it was a library book and I had to return it by the  14th. So I’ve already got one done.

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ReadThemAllThon-Badge04-Rainbow 

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This badge applies to  like every book that I read. Seriously. Look at the last three books I reviewed. If I have to pick one thing, though. I’m going with this one because it’s queer and nerdy. Also, the other books that fit here fit other places better.
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ReadThemAllThon-Badge06-Marsh

30518773Recieved this from Netgalley. So excited to read it. Haven’t hit my dragon quota for the year yet.
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ReadThemAllThon-Badge08-Earth 

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Not sure if this book is post-apocalyptic. It is a dystopia. I’ve wanted to read it for a while.

Super excited to take part in this event. If you are participating to then let me know in the comments down below. Will have a wrap-up video for this on my channel ChrisVIgilante when this finishes up. Hopefully, I can get to most of the books.

Book Reviews

The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan

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I was really happy with this. Probably a 4.5 or 4.6 stars. Going to talk about many elements, but no specifics in this review.

This book really is setting up the next few books.Answering some questions to get things set up. Who will be the villain we have to deal with? What about the prophecy? Who will be helping on the journey? So it could have fallen a bit flat for some people I think. However, I think the characters really pulled me into this one.

Before I talk about the characters, though. I need to mention how happily surprised by how queer this book is. Nico and Will are adorable dorks and I may have squealed at 1 am waking up my boyfriend because of their adorableness. Their relationship isn’t just hinted at now.They barely are getting started at the end of Blood of Olympus. It’s been several months. They are together and I loved it.

Apollo has had two great loves in his past. One of them was a male. I knew Apollo had male and female lovers and I’m glad the book didn’t skip over that.It didn’t put all the focus on Daphne. We even found out that one of Apollo’s kids is from relations Apollo has with a man, which I thought was so cool.Not sure how that worked. The gods have their ways apparently. I would love to hear that demigods story of when they found that out honestly.

I’m wondering if Apollo will ever encounter Zephyrus during this because that could be really interesting considering their past. I feel like Daphne and Hyacinth will continue to come up as the series goes on and I’m excited to see how.

Apollo is egotistical, often selfish, and narcissistic. He was like that when he was a god and now that he’s mortal he’s having a hard time dropping it. It’s kind of fantastic honestly. He’s so not on the same plain as everyone else. He thinks he understands mortals. His needs are obviously more important. It adds to the hilarity in the book.

The idea of seeing a god have to learn how to be mortal has been done before .It’s always interesting and usually quite funny. I’ll definitely enjoy seeing how being mortal will affect Apollo as the series goes on. It’s something that has to change your perspective on things at least a little.

Meg is a really interesting character.I really liked her spunk. I didn’t expect things to go the way they did with her and I’m happy with what happened. That might sound strange if you’ve already read it, but I’ll tell you why.There are a lot of lessons that readers will be able to learn from Meg’s plight over the next few books.That’s something I can already tell.

The last thing is I almost woke up my fiance to tell him the villain when it was revealed because it was someone we both studied and My fiance is writing a play on that villain right now. I thought that was awesome. Also scary for the characters because it’s a villain capable of some very bad things. I was excited, though.

One more thing. The chapter titles are haikus. There is a haiku to start every chapter. That was fantastic. It was hilarious. Probably my favorite thing I’ve seen in a while. Some had more punch than others, but it’s such a clever idea. Makes so much sense when dealing with a god of poetry. Very happy with the start of this series.

Book Reviews

We Are The Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson

Cover of We Are the Ants

 

 

Henry’s mom is working a dead-end job, his nana Alzheimer’s is getting worse, his brother dropped out of college after his girlfriend got pregnant.Plus Henry’s blames his self for his boyfriend Jesse’s suicide. Henry also gets abducted by aliens pretty frequently and has the choice to save the world or not.

This story was really dark. Trigger warnings galore. Definitely, trigger warnings for suicide, intense bullying, and sexual assault. Even in the near the end once I knew it was a dark book it was able to throw me off with something. Still the book is really good and so interesting.

Henry has to decide if the world is worth saving or not. I feel like the decision for Henry is influenced by all the crap he goes through, but I felt like it often came back to Jesse’s suicide. I really liked the way this book talked about depression, mental health, grieving, and guilt. Audrey is one character that definitely has great moments where she talks about these topics.

It honestly took me a while to get into this, but after the half-way point,I was in. At first, I was getting some big manic pixie dream boy vibes from Diego.Is that a thing? I think it’s a thing. There was also being bogged down with all the things happening to Henry and his reactions to them.

The characters are brilliant. I felt like they are so layered. Henry’s friend Audrey, his family, and Diego were all great characters. Marcus was even a well-done character. He developed. I still have no sympathy for him , but he developed.

This book has some really heartbreaking moments.There are so many beautiful parallels in this story that I won’t go into because spoilers. Beautiful and heartbreaking actually. I kept noticing them and just loved it. The ending was interesting. I wasn’t expecting it to end that way at all. I think I liked it. It leaves me with questions and that’s not a bad thing.