The Seafarers Kiss Book Review

 

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Warning I didn’t like this book at all…

1.5 Stars

YA fantasy

** spoiler alert ** Received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

I was hesitant to finish this book, I won’t lie. I started it… then I saw there were some issues with the trans rep in the book. As I am not part of the trans community, I can’t speak to specific parts. It was just brought to my attention so I was concerned.

Also… there’s finally a gender fluid character. Which should make me very happy since I also use they pronouns. But guess what. Loki is made into the villain. Like one of the only gender fluid characters I’ve read about… besides Alex from Magnus Chase… and it’s kind of ruined the experience. Loki was just made into an irredeemable character thus creating the idea gender fluid people are either liars or irredeemable. It sucks this could have been a great character but instead was made into a bad guy who happpens to be non binary. Could’ve left that part out…

Also. The couple in the book punch each other? Like… I don’t get it? The last thing young people need to see in YA is spouse abuse. Literally they punch each other and decide it was a bad idea… just don’t do it in the first place. If abuse is portrayed, it should be like hey leave the situation immediately. Not decide to punch back and then stop all abuse. It’s very unrealistic to show abuse can just stop like that… it’s a harmful rep where teens may stay with an abuser just because the person says oh I’ll stop… no. That doesn’t happen.

Plus… there’s tentacle porn?! It’s PG. But still. Why is there tentacle porn. I wasn’t even sure what I read the first time so I reread and I was like oh no baby what are you doing… so that happens as well.

The book is a quick read… I can say that. I didn’t get the Little Mermaid vibes immensely because I was noticing other issues. I know some people like this book more than I did… and there’s nothing wrong with that. I just have a different perspective than most. I wanted to love this book because it seemed like it was going to be right up my alley. But I didn’t get the mermaid under the sea vibes I was hoping for at all. I mean the book started out so adorable… and then there’s a super negative portrayal of a gender fluid character so all of my good thoughts kind of flew away. A lot. This book may work for other people, but it didn’t jive with me. (less)

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In a Order To Live Book Review

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5/5 Stars

Memoir

So I’ve been kind of learning about North Korea the last few years because of a documentary I watched on Netflix. I watched as many as I could on Netflix, and then I knew I wanted to read more books to learn about what is going on in such an isolationist country which holds so many people as prisoners and strikes fear in the world over.

This book showed up as someone I follow on Twitter saying such amazing things about the book I knew I had to read it immediately.

Park tells such a harrowing tale. She doesn’t skimp over the reality of the harshness of her child and the tumult her entire family dealt with during their time in North Korea. She tells stories about starving as a child and staying in a dark cold house, her parents were off trying to care for their family, and it was even worse when there were nights when the family didn’t know if they were going to survive.

The picture Park paints of North Korea is horrific… people are executed for watching movies and the Kim fascist family are made to be the greatest people in the world. It’s disgusting the Kims would tell the people their country was doing well, they were living in a paradise, and the Great Leader would never die. Except both of them did so… I can’t even explain how upset it makes me a country would treat its citizens so appallingly.

Park is such a strong woman. She is an amazing human rights activist who put her mind to bettering her life and did so. She was able to get her mother and herself to freedom and see her sister again. Park even was able to excel in academia when she wasn’t doing well as a child. She is one of the most admirable women I’ve ever had the honor of learning about. Her advocacy for making sure the horrible truths of North Korea are commendable, and I hope she continues being phenomenal. Highly recommend this book for everyone. It’s extremely eye opening and hopeful at the same time.

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.