March Mini-Review Madness

Did anyone else do a bracket for March Madness this year? My husband’s family is super into sports so we do a family competition every year. This year, I really didn’t put much thought into it and ended up barely beating my nephew (who is 4). I know games are still being played, but at this point I don’t have any of the top 4 so…I’m out. But on to the reviews!

mini-reviews

A Darker Shade of MagicA Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

I’d been meaning to read this series for forever and I’m so glad that I finally picked it up! I love the covers and am looking forward to one day having the whole series on my shelf. I thought the initial world explanation all happened really smoothly. Schwab also did a great job of making Kell (and Lila) super likable right from the start. She’s obviously put a ton of thought into this world with the magic system and languages. I appreciate that she doesn’t shy away from hard decisions (i.e. killing characters, no spoilers). Where I was most amazed, though, was how she managed to create a sympathetic character out of Holland (at least, for me). I get the sense that he isn’t as evil as he portrays himself. Don’t get me wrong, he did some truly evil things in this book, but I still sympathize with him for some reason? And she doesn’t even tell us that much about him! That’s what’s truly amazing. 4.5/5

eBook | Hardcover | Paperback

VoicesVoices by David Elliott [ARC]

I’ll premise this review by saying I know almost nothing about Joan of Arc. I wasn’t going to pick up this book, but then I read an excerpt and found it really compelling. I’ll also say real quick that I know pretty much nothing about poetry and what makes good poetry. So take my comments with a grain of salt, I guess. With that being said, I thought the poems were interesting and beautiful at times. I really liked the perspectives from the different objects and I found the fire to be especially impactful for some reason (though I do feel like the fire’s last poem was missing, but maybe that was just because I had an ARC?). I also really liked the short sections that were quotes from her actual trial. In the end, I used to know nothing about Joan of Arc, and now I feel like I know a little bit about her. 4/5

Note: An ARC of this book was provided to the library where I work.

eBook | Hardcover

The Girl Who Drank the MoonThe Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill

Trigger warning: Intended infanticide

Ever since having a baby myself, I’ve found mentions of babies dying to be really hard. So the beginning of this book was difficult for me. But then we get into it and Xan is amazing and I love her for saving all the babies. I really enjoyed all of the (good) characters in this book and the found family aspect was really fun to see. Luna, in particular, was a great character though I wish we’d gotten to know her and her personality a little bit better. I thought the ending was fantastic and tender and so much more than I had even realized I wanted it to be. The only thing about this book is that I question its middle grade-ness. I feel like if I was middle grade age, so much of this book would just go straight over my head. Only as an adult do I feel like I can even scratch the surface of what this book is about. 5/5

eBook | Hardcover | Paperback

The Other EinsteinThe Other Einstein by Marie Benedict

This book was not my cup of tea. First of all, it’s never clear throughout the whole book which parts are completely fictionalized and which parts are true or partially true. I think I needed an author’s note in the beginning or something because I felt pretty confused throughout most of the book. I didn’t like any of the characters and found most relationships between characters to be stifling. I felt like Mileva was an extremely weak character and I just wanted her to stand up for herself. I also came out of this book completely hating Einstein which is kind of a weird feeling… 2.5/5

Top Ten Tuesday: Historical Settings

top-ten-tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  Each week there is a new topic and this week’s topic is: Top Ten Historical Settings You Love/ Ten Historical Settings You’d Love To See or Top Futuristic Books You Love/Ten Futuristic Societies I’d Love To Read in Books — basically this week is all about the past or the future….spin it however you choose!

For this post I’ve decided to focus on the past. I like reading futuristic books, but it’s really hard for me to pinpoint what about them I like. Unlike most of my Top Ten Tuesdays, this list is actually in order of preference.

10) The French Revolution – I can’t actually think of any books that I’ve read in this time period, but it definitely appeals to me. I learned a bit about this time period in high school and it seems like a time when paranoia was high and spies were everywhere.
9) 1980s High School – Not really that long ago, but they didn’t have internet or cell phones or Spotify…how did people even live back then?
8) The Middle Ages – Knights and jousting and a lot of horse riding. Sometimes includes a damsel-in-distress, but more likely a damsel dressed as a knight.
7) 1950s America – It seems like life was so much simpler in a lot of ways back then. The country was in a rebuilding stage after WWII and the Great Depression.
6) Elizabethan England – The courts and the opulence. Politics and intrigue. Every book I’ve read from this time period has had so. much. drama.
5) The Victorian Era – Specifically the late 1800s. Think Cassandra Clare’s The Infernal Devices series or The Parasol Protectorate series by Gail Carriger. This is really similar to the Regency Era, but there are some subtle differences. I feel like women have more of a role in society in this era. And if you want to throw some steampunk in there? By all means, go for it.
4) World War I – I’ve only read one book in this time period (In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters) but I loved it and I was so interested to learn more about WWI and the Spanish Flu and everything that was going on at this time.
3) The Roaring Twenties – Flappers and mobsters and prohibition and speakeasies. When I think about the 1920s I just picture a ton of glitz and glam and wild parties. Basically old-timey Gossip Girl.
2) Regency Era/Jane Austen – This is approximately the early 1800s. I love reading about the balls and the politics and the romance of this era.
1) World War II – What is it about this time period? It’s not too far in the past, but far enough that it feels like it was a lifetime ago. There was so much going on in the world at this time. So much possibility for drama.