Tuesday, October 4, 2016

mini mini reviews!

Today, I have some mini mini-reviews on some books I've recently read from a colorful assortment of genres. These are for the books which I don't have enough to say to warrant an entire review, hence the extra mini, but I do have something to comment on (as should be expected from me, giving my opinion even when no one asks is one of my talents.) The three books I will be reviewing--if you can even call it that--are all unique in their own ways, and I highly recommend each and every one of them.

Title: My Lady Jane
Authors: Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows
Publication date: June 7, 2016
Genre: Historical fiction
The comical, fantastical, romantical, (not) entirely true story of Lady Jane Grey. In My Lady Jane, coauthors Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows have created a one-of-a-kind fantasy in the tradition of The Princess Bride, featuring a reluctant king, an even more reluctant queen, a noble steed, and only a passing resemblance to actual history—because sometimes history needs a little help.
At sixteen, Lady Jane Grey is about to be married off to a stranger and caught up in a conspiracy to rob her cousin, King Edward, of his throne. But those trifling problems aren’t for Jane to worry about. Jane is about to become the Queen of England. -Goodreads

4 Stars. My Lady Jane was everything it promised to be and more. While I do not consider myself a fan of any of the authors, their efforts combined resulted in a witty, splendid retake on one of my favorite eras in history. Its tongue-in-cheek humor had me chuckling every other page, and the nearly 500 pages breezed by. The only word I can think of to summarize this book would be peculiar--God I hate the way that word rolls off my tongue--and if you're into that kinda stuff, you should definitely check this one out.

Title: Made You Up
Author: Francesca Zappia
Publication date: May 19, 2015
Genre: Contemporary
Reality, it turns out, is often not what you perceive it to be—sometimes, there really is someone out to get you. Made You Up tells the story of Alex, a high school senior unable to tell the difference between real life and delusion. This is a compelling and provoking literary debut that will appeal to fans of Wes Anderson, Silver Linings Playbook, and Liar.

Funny, provoking, and ultimately moving, this debut novel featuring the quintessential unreliable narrator will have readers turning the pages and trying to figure out what is real and what is made up. -Goodreads

3 Stars. I did not quite love this as much as the My Lady Jane, but nonetheless, I do recognize that Made You Up is an essential and valuable book in this genre, especially since it addresses many mental health issues in a way that does not romanticize it nor trivialize the impact it has on its victims. Like My Lady Jane, it was weird, not humorously but...fascinatingly weird. I know, objectively, that this is indeed a good book, but I cannot bring myself to give it more than a three because it was not as engaging as I had anticipated it to be.

Title: A Thousand Nights 
Author: E.K. Johnston
Publication date: October 6, 2015
Genre: Fantasy
Lo-Melkhiin killed three hundred girls before he came to her village, looking for a wife. When she sees the dust cloud on the horizon, she knows he has arrived. She knows he will want the loveliest girl: her sister. She vows she will not let her be next.

And so she is taken in her sister’s place, and she believes death will soon follow. Lo-Melkhiin’s court is a dangerous palace filled with pretty things: intricate statues with wretched eyes, exquisite threads to weave the most beautiful garments. She sees everything as if for the last time. But the first sun rises and sets, and she is not dead. Night after night, Lo-Melkhiin comes to her and listens to the stories she tells, and day after day she is awoken by the sunrise. Exploring the palace, she begins to unlock years of fear that have tormented and silenced a kingdom. Lo-Melkhiin was not always a cruel ruler. Something went wrong.

The words she speaks to Lo-Melkhiin every night are given a strange life of their own. Little things, at first: a dress from home, a vision of her sister. With each tale she spins, her power grows. Soon she dreams of bigger, more terrible magic: power enough to save a king, if she can put an end to the rule of a monster.

3.5 Stars. Up until about the 60% mark, I was, in short, bored. I appreciated the story itself, and applauded its individuality, but it was a bit tiresome to read some of the chapters. Despite my initial boredom, A Thousand Nights proved to be unexpectedly intriguing. For some reason or another, I wasn't the biggest fan of the writing, and I'm still not quite sure how I feel about the nameless characters, but overall, it was a very complex, innovative, and inspiring novel. It's an original take on a concept that several other authors have attempted to explore, and A Thousand Nights is arguably the most thought-provoking one I have come across. I'll most likely be picking up the next installment out of sheer curiosity. (Even weeks after finishing the novel, my thoughts on it are still a bit muddled, so if I seem to be swinging from one extreme to the other, forgive me.)

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