Caged by Elisa Dane Book Review

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YA Contemporary

5/5 Stars

So this book evokes a lot of emotions within me, both good and bad. It deals with a lot of complex emotions, and it’s not a book you can just expect to leave you unscathed. In short, this book packs an emotional punch you won’t see coming.

This book is horrible in the sense the popular teens at Atwood High are the worst human beings in the world. I’ve never met more nasty, cruel people and I wasn’t exactly the popular one in high school. These people are on a next level I can’t explain well enough. The males are just super misogynistic and just… they are the epitome of slimy and rape culture to me. The main popular girl is the worst human being in the world. She is deplorable, treats her friends horribly, and I don’t understand how she was allowed to be around people with her actions. Just…. they’re all a bunch of bad people.

So the main character Sadie has some trauma going on. But she got sucked into the popular club, and she just watches all of this bullying happen. She doesn’t want to be an outcast, but she isn’t nice to someone who used to be friend before she was part of the cool kids. She just stands by and watches her former friend be tortured and stays silent. Her silence is probably one of the major catalysts for the later events. I’m not saying she’s just a bad person… I just think she’s dealt with a lot of bad stuff she should want the cycle to cease. I didn’t hate her, but she isn’t my favorite during some of this book.

The only person I love in this book was Hayden. He’s the greatest. I don’t want to spoil anything about him so read the book and find out how awesome he is. It’s worth the read just for him alone.

The major event in the book is shocking. It is described in detail and can be very scary when reading. I couldn’t imagine being in a situation like that, but the author wrote it so well. The only story is woven together to show how it all leads up to the big event and just… the next book and the aftermath are going to be intense. I’m pretty sure I’ve found a new favorite author.

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

Magnus Chase Series Book Review

 

The Sword of Summer 4/5 stars

The Hammer of Thor 4/5 stars

Middle Grade Fantasy novels

So I have obviously jumped onto the Rick Riordan train late as ever. I’ve heard about these books for so long, and I’ve constantly thought maybe I should read them. However, I never actually made the effort until I read this series so far. And I am really glad I did so. Rick Riordan writes books which just make me feel happy, and I don’t know if there are enough books like that in the world. But I definitely want more of them. So now I plan to read pretty much all of his books because I think he may be on the way to becoming one of my favorite authors for the middle grade genre.

Summary of The Sword of Summer:

Magnus Chase has always been a troubled kid. Since his mother’s mysterious death, he’s lived alone on the streets of Boston, surviving by his wits, keeping one step ahead of the police and the truant officers.

One day, he’s tracked down by an uncle he’s never met—a man his mother claimed was dangerous. His uncle tells him an impossible secret: Magnus is the son of a Norse god.

The Viking myths are true. The gods of Asgard are preparing for war. Trolls, giants and worse monsters are stirring for doomsday. To prevent Ragnarok, Magnus must search the Nine Worlds for a weapon that has been lost for thousands of years.

When an attack by fire giants forces him to choose between his own safety and the lives of hundreds of innocents, Magnus makes a fatal decision.

Sometimes, the only way to start a new life is to die.

The Sword of Summer is such a funny book. The opening lines about how the story revolving around how Magnus dies Andy how the reader will find out more really struck me. I was like, wow this sounds like a really interesting story. I was worried though because I hadn’t read Percy Jackson so I was scared I was going to miss out. Don’t be wary though, you can read these books without having read the other series. I may have missed out on little things, and I know his cousin Annabeth is in the other books. But I wasn’t lost at all.

I love the comedy. Magnus says funny things and it’s just really light hearted the whole time. The chapter titles, such as How to kill giants politely, are just freaking adorable in the best way possible. I even like the funny little jokes he makes about his being dead and other aspects of his new life as a dead kid. Also this book is wonderful because the characters are so diverse. Sam is a Valkyrie who’s also a Muslim who wears the hijab and wants to marry someone her family has chosen, because she loves him. Hearth is an elf who is deaf. And there’s a dwarf named Blitz who has the best fashion sense around. This group has a great dynamic which sometimes ends in hilarity and hijinks. I also like how Sam and Magnus are friends… there’s no weird forced tension or romance. Plus there was no romance in this book which I thought I’d hate, but I was able to focus on the story so kudos for that!

This was an awesome first book in a trilogy and I also loved the second book too.

Summary of The Hammer of Thor:

Thor’s hammer is missing again. The thunder god has a disturbing habit of misplacing his weapon–the mightiest force in the Nine Worlds. But this time the hammer isn’t just lost, it has fallen into enemy hands. If Magnus Chase and his friends can’t retrieve the hammer quickly, the mortal worlds will be defenseless against an onslaught of giants. Ragnarok will begin. The Nine Worlds will burn. Unfortunately, the only person who can broker a deal for the hammer’s return is the gods’ worst enemy, Loki–and the price he wants is very high.

So this book begins where the last one stopped. They are looking for the hammer because Thor lost it again, and a lot of problems could arise if any unsavory characters know the god doesn’t have his Hammer.

So Magnus and his friends have to go find the hammer. Of course it’s not going to be easy and there is always the adventures they get into to make sure they are never bored for a moment. What’s really interesting is how Riordan takes us to more of the Nine Worlds to see the world of the giants and where Hearth hails from, the land of the Light Elves. Also, I wanted to cry when I learned the story of Hearth. He is just always so sweet, and none of what happened during his childhood was even fair to him in the least. He is such a good guy and just…ugh… I really hated his dad for obvious reasons. Also I kind of wish this was a map for this book since I’ve never been to Boston so it was hard to imagine the locations as well as I wanted to.

Also… once again the characters are so diverse. Sam is so awesome no matter what. I adore how she prays even when they are on their quest. It shows her dedication to her faith which I really admire. Also… we have Alex. She is just so kick butt. I didn’t like her at first, but then I grew to think she’s one of the best in the series. She’s gender fluid… which is awesome since you don’t see any characters like her in middle grade or YA, sadly. She is open and honest about who she is. It helps the reader see the important idea about pronouns, gender identifying and how other people view it. Also I kind of think it’d be cute if Alex and Magnus end up together. Like yes please, please…

This book was fantastic. That ending though made me freak the freak out, and I can’t wait for the next book to come out this fall. I think in the mean time I’ll have to read everything else Riordan has written. Yup, that’s probably going to be something I do this summer.

Both summaries come from Goodreads and don’t belong to me.

Killing for Company Book Review

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4/5 stars

True Crime

“The corpse is the dirty platter after the feast.” Or how Nilsen vehemently denies he ever engaged in necrophilia or cannibalism.

Dennis Nilsen is a less intense version of Jeffery Dahmer. He murdered 15 young men over the span of four years, and he doesn’t express remorse and doesn’t even really know why he murdered these men. He isn’t an insane men. He is articulate, intelligent, and introverted. His love for death started as a child and escalated into cold blooded murder. This is a short little piece about what this book contains, but it really much deeper.

This isn’t a true crime thriller at all. Instead it is a deep psychoanalysis of Dennis Nilsen, complied by the author from letters and interviews with Nilsen himself. The book is very dark and doesn’t skip on details. In fact, there are very explicit details of the murders told by Nilsen in letters and from other firsthand sources. The reader is given a chance to delve deep into who the murder is, spanning from his beginning life all the way up to his being caught and incarceration. This book provides a lot of details about his life and his stages of emotions and changing over time.

At times it can be a lot to take in, sometimes you can be easily overwhelmed with details. Often, I was wondering why I needed to know every little piece of his life, but I think it did well to build upon who he was and why he committed such heinous murders for no explicable reason.

The author breaks down the book into 10 chapters. From his arrest to his childhood all the way to Victims, Disposal, and Answers. Masters expounds the importance of the death of his grandfather to childhood and how Nilsen became sexually aroused by death and corpses during adolescence to who his victims were and his methodology to disposing of the bodies. Answers tries to explain why Nilsen acted so horribly by going through various psychological reasoning such as schizophrenic tendencies, sexual aberrations, and even if there was some aspect of necrophilia involved.

Building upon the letters from Nilsen and interviews, Masters provides a full account of why this happened and how the answers can never be fully clear. The courts found Nilsen wasn’t insane by any means, but there’s still no reasoning for why. Nielsen would say at times he didn’t remember all of the details but yet he could also give explicit details about the method of murder along with the rituals and disposal. He was fansicated by death so he was enamored with the bodies. He, as the murderer, had all of the power and possessed the ability to control each of his victims’ fates. So he would strangle them, wash their bodies, sometimes mastrubate on the bodies, and then shove them under the floor until he could find a way to get rid of the bodies. At times getting rid of the bodies would mean burning or his super genius idea of flushing them down the toilet… which led to his demise because plumbing became backed up at his house and the flesh chunks were traced back to his house. I mean… it should have been obvious it was a bad choice to literally dump pieces of a body down pipes and expect them to just go away.

The postscript of the book is very insightful as well. It shares how drinking may have played a larger role in the murders than the author of the book thought… which makes sense when one thinks about other murderers as well. Pretty sure Jeffery Dahmer and Ted Bundy were also major alcoholics. Perhaps the drinking numbed them enough to allow them to carry out the murders. Also it shares about how Nilsen made very detailed drawings of victims proved he saw the corpses as “beautiful .” He also wrote “Real and beautiful- and dead.” Nielsen seemed to see himself dying in each victim and found beauty in that, like the only way he could ever be loved was by these dead men who he later just burned or shoved into bags like it meant nothing. He had a strange love for death and found a twisted sense of romance at looking at what he had done to these innocent men. Nilsen was a man who wanted company. But only found it worthwhile once they were dead.

One of my favorite parts of this book was how Masters mentioned other serial killers. He mentions John Wayne Gacy, Peter Sutcliffe, Norman Collins, and even Edmund Kemper. The author included this piece about Kemper stating, “….burying the head in his garden facing the house, so that he could imagine the victim looking at him.” This reminds me of how Nilsen took one of his victims from the closet and would have inane conversations with him and also placed him on the couch so they could watch tv together. The author even talks about how serial killers are becoming less rare and may represent a “motiveless” criminal who is an accepted part of society.

Overall, this book provides great insight into how Nilsen killed men he liked so they wouldn’t be able to leave him. However, the real reason for why Nilsen did what he did is still elusive. This book is gripping and chilling… it gives the reader great knowledge of how even despite what Nilsen did… he is still human. A sad, lonely human who just wanted some company and would do anything necessary to receive it.

Allegedly Book Review

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5/5 Stars

YA Contemporary/ Own Voices

Okay so I have a lot of things to say about this book. A lot. I could just go on and on because this book is a major punch to the gut. Seriously, you read this book and think you know what is going to happen. In fact, I was so convinced I knew the outcome of the story and then I was shocked to find out what really happened. This book is twisted and dark, in the best ways possible. Of course, be forewarned it is very dark. But so good. It’s amazing. God, this book blew my mind.

Mary killed Alyssa when she was nine. Allegedly. She spent time in jail and now lives in a foster home. She still sees her mom and is trying to deal with her life as someone who is trying to prove she didn’t kill the baby like everyone believes. After dealing with years of sexual and physical abuse as a child, she still has a hard time coping with all of the trauma. Mary wants to clear her name but her Momma just wants her daughter to be a good girl and follow the path of the Lord. Mary has dreams of college and making someone of herself. When she finds herself pregnant, she has to find a way to fight for her baby in anyway she can. The baby means the world to her and she isn’t going to let the state take away her child. Mary wants to clear her name for good.

I thought I knew what this book was going to be. As a true crime fan, I was like yeah I know how this going to play out because I’ve listened to so many podcasts and have read about many cases. Also I didn’t know there was a real life case like this either so wow. But from the beginning as a true crime afficiando, I was so sure I had the whole plot figured out. But nope. I was surprised immensely by the twist in this book. It completely blew my mind….

Unreliable narrators make for a great story. I would highly recommend this book to everyone. It is fantastic because it’s an own voices book which has diversity, deals with issues of gender, class, race, and the justice system. Tiffany Jackson did a stellar job, and I can’t wait to get my hands on her next book.

Our Own Private Universe Review

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4/5 stars

YA LGBT 🏳️‍🌈 Contemporary

I was really obsessed with the last book Robin Talley released in late 2016. I couldn’t get enough of As I Descended because I loved the dark and creepy. I couldn’t stop reading it, and I even got some amazing preorder swag. Talley is one of the few YA LGBTQIA authors I’ve come across, and I do enjoy her work. So I want to talk a little about what I loved about the book and then some things I didn’t.

I love the romance between Aki and Christa. It was very sweet. This book has great diversity was the main character being a WoC and the setting was Mexico so you saw little elements of the culture. The diversity is superb. It made me love the book even more. Aki is a great bisexual main character because she is still trying to find herself and understand who she is. I like the way they talk about global issues and how it’s important to bring awareness to understanding each topic. The church aspect wasn’t horrible, the religious aspect was there but it wasn’t overbearing. I didn’t feel like I was reading a book where religion was being shoved down my throat. Also the teenagers and all of the struggles and feelings they have are so realistic. I could remember having those types of feelings when I was a teenager. Also, I learned sexual education needs to be taught for everyone. Not just heterosexual teens. The LGBTQIA community needs to be included. I think sexual education needs to be taught equally so everyone is protected. I mean, I have no idea what a dental dam was until I read this book. So I learned something and I’m 25!

Things I didn’t like:
It seems like sometimes the teenagers were getting away with too much. I find it hard to believe a church group wouldn’t notice teen boys drinking or girls sneaking away together all of the time? I mean, it makes the adults seem stupid as hell.
I don’t understand why the girl/girl relationship was something to be so ashamed of. It seemed like it was a little bit much at times.
Sometimes it just seemed like the book was going on for too long. There were some things which could have been shorter.

Anyway, I really did enjoy this book. It was a sweet love story and brings more awareness to how much we need more LGBTQIA books in YA literature.

Carve the Mark Book Review

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1.5 Stars

YA Fantasy

So. This book was so freaking slow. It took me so long to get through the book.

I thought it was dull, and I had a hard time keeping up with the plot. The world building wasn’t very good. Apparently the book was set in space, but it didn’t even feel like it. The book was hard to just finish. I wanted to get through it, but I do regret wasting my time with this book. The Divergent series ended up being a disappointment, so there should be no surprises at all.

I’ve heard the controversy surrounding this book, the racist and ableist issues in the book. I’ve read many reviews about it… especially how people are talking about how they didn’t realize the problems and apologize for not seeing the problems at the first place. I can’t imagine how frustrating it must be to those who were hurt by the story. I can’t speak to either issue with complete understanding, but I can only imagine the unsettling feelings it’s left with those who were impacted. As a WoC, I understand how literature and media can create many negative portrayals. Maybe I just missed it because I didn’t pay close attention to the book… I skimmed a lot and my mind wandered… but I didn’t see the racist tones. I probably missed them, but I wasn’t like holy crap the racism. I can only imagine the hurt those affected feel, but I totally didn’t see it. I can’t speak at all about the ableist issues though because it’s not anything I have personal experience with.

This whole book was boring, and I’m really mad I wasted my time. I have to admit all the negative press made me want to read the book more… but I don’t play on reading anymore Veronica Roth in the future.

King’s Cage Book Review

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4/5 Stars

YA fantasy

Oh my god. I just wrote a review and my iPad fucked up so I have to start over. Ahhhh. I hate technology so much sometimes. Okay, anyway. I love this series but I also sometimes am like whoa this is boring. It’s been a mixed bag for me. I don’t hate the series at all but sometimes it’s like there’s nothing happening and all of the good parts happen right at the end of the book so I have to wait am entire year to see how the story is going to unfold. Which I know is how the author keeps you hooked but I wish Aveyard would sometimes not leave at the great stuff for the epilogue because I want more good stuff to happen all the way through so I don’t discover myself skimming parts of the book to see when something exciting is going to happen.

This book was really good. And I was like wow a cage is such an interesting metaphor and the author does a great job at showing you how the cage is mutilfacted to Mare. I didn’t really think about it until I was writing this but the cage could mean so many things to her depending on if she’s thinking about Maven or Cal. Also. There’s something I really need to talk about from this book.

Maven.

I know he is the bad guy. And he is murderer. He has done some horrible things and he is just so damaged. But can we talk about how it seems like he and Mare are meant to be? I don’t believe any of the feeling between Cal and Mare. I’m just like so why aren’t you with Maven because it’s like so meant to be! You have to be blind to think Mare should be with Cal because he is just really lame. Maven is so dark and vulnerable and he needs to be loved. That is all he needs. He sure as shit didn’t get love from his mother so he needs someone to show him he’s not fucked up. And it’s not like Mare is all sweet and innocent either. They belong together and I’m going to be so sad if they don’t end up together.

As soon as I was reading this I thought of Warner from Shatter Me. You know, he was all bad, but then you’re like omg I love him so much and it’s just so obvious he is the best one ever. That is what I was thinking the whole time with Maven. All I could hear was Warner echoing in my head over and over. Maven is going to do something to show he is kind of evil but also his mom fucked him up so he needs someone to love him and help heal his mind. I swear he is going to do something in the last book where all of us are going to be like oh my god he is actually good, like you know, the same way with Warner. Maven and Warner are like so similar to me. So please Victoria make Maven just like Warner so I can be happy with my feels and know he is ending up with Mare and it will be amazing.

Anyway. This was a great read. I didn’t really like the Cameron POV though. There was a lot of Maven. He is the best. Definitely now one of the book boyfriends. I’m anxiously awaiting the next book to see how this will all turn out. Either way, I’m definitely Team Maven.