Saturday, June 28, 2014

#WeNeedDiverseBooks Spotlight: Mornings in Jenin, by Susan Abulhawa

Mornings in Jenin
Title: Mornings in Jenin
Author: Susan Abulhawa
Publication Date: February 2, 2010
Genre: Historical Fiction
A heart-wrenching, powerfully written novel that could do for Palestine what The Kite Runner did for Afghanistan.

Forcibly removed from the ancient village of Ein Hod by the newly formed state of Israel in 1948, the Abulhejas are moved into the Jenin refugee camp. There, exiled from his beloved olive groves, the family patriarch languishes of a broken heart, his eldest son fathers a family and falls victim to an Israeli bullet, and his grandchildren struggle against tragedy toward freedom, peace, and home. This is the Palestinian story, told as never before, through four generations of a single family.

The very precariousness of existence in the camps quickens life itself. Amal, the patriarch's bright granddaughter, feels this with certainty when she discovers the joys of young friendship and first love and especially when she loses her adored father, who read to her daily as a young girl in the quiet of the early dawn. Through Amal we get the stories of her twin brothers, one who is kidnapped by an Israeli soldier and raised Jewish; the other who sacrifices everything for the Palestinian cause. Amal’s own dramatic story threads between the major Palestinian-Israeli clashes of three decades; it is one of love and loss, of childhood, marriage, and parenthood, and finally of the need to share her history with her daughter, to preserve the greatest love she has.

The deep and moving humanity of Mornings in Jenin forces us to take a fresh look at one of the defining political conflicts of our lifetimes. -Goodreads

5 Stars
Since its birth a month ago, I have been an avid supporter of the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign. I mean, besides the fact that I'm part of a minority, I've noticed that there seems to be one type of protagonist that publishers look for, and this in turn leads to a horribly un-diverse cast of fictional protagonists. I, like many other readers, am sick and tired of this uniformity.

Friday, June 27, 2014

{June Book Haul}

Stacking the Shelves
Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

Now that school is over, you'd think I'd be flying through books, right? WRONG. I've had a book slump since school ended a few weeks ago - and when I say book slump, I mean that I send my time stalking book blogs instead of reading.

It's not that I have no books to read - quite the opposite, actually, as the pictures below clearly prove. Here is my book hoard haul for June:

Monday, June 23, 2014

Snarkfest: Overly Badass Heroes & Heroines

I'm sure most of us, if not all, love a heroine/hero with a considerable amount of "spunk." Girls like Katniss and Celaena makes us girls proud, and guys like Ash and the Darkling make us swoooon.


For some, there comes a time when you encounter a hero/heroine who is just WAY too badass and extremely unrealistic. Yeah, yeah, it's fiction, but we crave a character with flaws, who isn't perfection incarnate, and who makes mistakes. Sometimes, I think, authors take the badassery way too far and end up creating a character whose only purpose is to defeat the bad guys. There's no personality, no imperfections, NADA.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Support Strange Chemistry!

Strange Chemistry

This support blog hop was created by Kaye at Watercolor Moods.

It's super depressing to hear the news of Strange Chemistry, a young adult imprint of Angry Robot, closing down. Authors who were supposed to publish their books in the coming months are no longer able to, such as Eliza Crewe, author of Cracked.

So, in honor of them, I shall make a list of the awesome things they have brought to the YA world:

Friday, June 20, 2014

City of Heavenly Fire & Other Rant-y Things

City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments, #6)
DNF at page two-hundred or three-hundred and something

Once upon a time there was a twelve-year-old girl who loved reading. She read anything she could get her hands on - but unlike other girls her age, she refused to read Twilight. No, she was far too good for that. Instead, she devoured the Mortal Instruments series, which she believed was far more well-written, more complex than that worthless Twilight.

Fast forward two years later, and Summer is eagerly waiting for the next installment in the series, City of Lost Souls. The previous one wasn't as good as the others, but she believed that this would be the one. To kill the time, Summer browsed a website she recently discovered: Goodreads. Mind you, she did not make an account, but she did spend a considerable amount of time reading reviews of her Favorite Series of All Time.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Review: Cinderella's Dress, by Shonna Slayton

Cinderella's Dress
Title: Cinderella's Dress
Author: Shonna Slayton
Publication Date: June 3, 2014
Genre: Historical Fiction/Fantasy
Being seventeen during World War II is tough. Finding out you’re the next keeper of the real Cinderella’s dresses is even tougher.
Kate simply wants to create window displays at the department store where she's working, trying to help out with the war effort. But when long-lost relatives from Poland arrive with a steamer trunk they claim holds the Cinderella’s dresses, life gets complicated.
Now, with a father missing in action, her new sweetheart, Johnny, stuck in the middle of battle, and her great aunt losing her wits, Kate has to unravel the mystery before it’s too late.

After all, the descendants of the wicked stepsisters will stop at nothing to get what they think they deserve. -Goodreads
2 Stars

*Thank you Entangled Publishing for providing me a copy for review.*

DNF at 75%.

Slayton's Cinderella's Dress is a lovely example of amazing concept, bad execution.

Go on, read the synopsis yourself. It's trivial how a book with so much promise can be so lacking. You have historical fiction, which I love, fairy tale elements, which I adore, and a hint of feminism. What's not to love?

Monday, June 9, 2014

Review: Shatter Me, by Tahereh Mafi

10429045Title: Shatter Me
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Pub. Date: November 15, 2011
Genre: Dystopia, Romance

Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days.

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war – and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.-Goodreads

Warning: This review will be filled with spoilers and and a lot of ranting about Shatter Me

2 Stars

Is it bad that I hated this book that everyone else seems to love? Everything about it annoyed me; the characters, the badly executed storyline (that could have had potential), the million love interests and the writing style... don't even get me started on the writing style. and what was with all this?

Summer and I have agreed that Shatter Me is just one of those books that we love to hate. Sure, I will admit that both the storyline and the writing had huge potential and from just the blurb I thought that it would be a book I would enjoy, but then why did I finish Shatter Me feeling frustrated and angry and here's a short(ish) list why.