Book Review: Wild Boar in the Cane Field

wild boarTitle: Wild Boar in the Cane Field

Author: Anniqua Rana

Publisher: She Writes Press

Synopsis: One day, a baby girl, Tara, is found, abandoned and covered in flies. She is raised by two mothers in a community rife with rituals and superstition. As she grows, Tara pursues acceptance at all costs. Saffiya, her adoptive mother, and Bhaggan, Saffiya’s maidservant, are victims of the men in their community, and the two women, in turn, struggle and live short but complicated lives. The only way for the villagers to find solace is through the rituals of ancient belief systems.

Poignant and compelling, Wild Boar in the Cane Field depicts the tragedy that often characterizes the lives of those who live in South Asia―and demonstrates the heroism we are all capable of even in the face of traumatic realities.

My Rating: 2.5 stars

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book is exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my thoughts and opinions.

Let me get one warning out of the way right off the bat, this book is very sad. Would not recommend reading it if you’re already feeling down (like I was when I read it, oops!). About halfway through reading this book I added it to my “Currently Reading” tab on Goodreads and found that there was a more complete synopsis there. The back of the book doesn’t have as much info on it. I was upset to see a major spoiler in it (don’t worry I took it out of the synopsis I provided above). So another warning that if you don’t want to know what happens at the end of the book, don’t read the full synopsis on Goodreads.

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ARC Review: The Reckless Oath We Made

TROWMTitle: The Reckless Oath We Made

Author: Bryn Greenwood

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons

Publication Date: August 20, 2019

Synopsis: A provocative love story between a tough Kansas woman on a crooked path to redemption and the unlikeliest of champions, from the New York Times bestselling author of All the Ugly and Wonderful Things.

Zee is nobody’s fairy tale princess. Almost six-foot, with a redhead’s temper and a shattered hip, she has a long list of worries: never-ending bills, her beautiful, gullible sister, her five-year-old nephew, her housebound mother, and her drug-dealing boss.

Zee may not be a princess, but Gentry is an actual knight, complete with sword, armor, and a code of honor. Two years ago the voices he hears called him to be Zee’s champion. Both shy and autistic, he’s barely spoken to her since, but he has kept watch, ready to come to her aid.

When an abduction tears Zee’s family apart, she turns to the last person she ever imagined–Gentry–and sets in motion a chain of events that will not only change both of their lives, but bind them to one another forever.

My Rating: 4.5 stars

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ARC Review: This Is How You Lose the Time War

36516585._SX318_Title: This is How You Lose the Time War

Author(s): Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone

Publisher: Saga Press

Publication Date: July 16, 2019

Synopsis: Among the ashes of a dying world, an agent of the Commandant finds a letter. It reads: Burn before reading.

And thus begins an unlikely correspondence between two rival agents hellbent on securing the best possible future for their warring factions. Now, what began as a taunt, a battlefield boast, grows into something more.

Except discovery of their bond would be death for each of them. There’s still a war going on, after all. And someone has to win that war. That’s how war works. Right?

My Rating: 4.5 stars

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Author Interview: Brynne Rebele-Henry

You may remember my review of Orpheus Girl from a couple of weeks ago and my promise to try to get an interview with the author, Brynne! Well, the wait is over and here is the interview! I felt so honored to get to talk to Brynne and she was so lovely.

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Brynne is only 19 years old and has won numerous awards for her poetry and fiction, including the 2017 AWP Donald Hall Prize and the 2016 Adroit Prize for Prose for an excerpt of her novel The Glass House. Her writing has appeared in Denver Quarterly and The Adriot Journal and her work is often centered around feminism, lesbianism, and girlhood. I asked Brynne 11 questions (because I just couldn’t stop myself at 10) and her answers are below:

1. Orpheus Girl was your first fictional novel. How was it different from poetry? Was it harder? Easier?

I actually mostly write fiction, I’m just much slower of a novelist than I am a poet! When I write poetry, I usually write very quickly, but for me fiction is a longer process, where often I’ll spend months just thinking about the characters before I sit down to write them.

2. How do you get inspired to write and how often do you write?

I write full time, so there are hours I put aside in each work day for writing and editing.

3. What’s your favorite book? What are you currently reading?

I love and always revisit Blue Nights by Joan Didion. I’m currently reading Birthday by Meredith Russo, and it’s incredible! I highly recommend it. Meredith is an amazing activist and author.

4. Favorite hobby?

Growing orchids, and painting!

5. What’s your advice to other young writers?

My advice is to believe in your work, to prioritize your craft, to set aside as much space as you can for reading and writing, and to find a community of other young writers.

6. I am a big fan of SoHo Press, how was your experience publishing with them? Did you approach them with your book or did they approach you?

They’re fantastic! My agents, Vicky Bijur and Alexandra Franklin, submitted Orpheus Girl to Soho Teen in 2018. I’ve really enjoyed working with Soho, and with my editor, Daniel Ehrenhaft!

7. Would you like to continue writing for a living?

Yes! I have been for a while.

8. What are some goals (or bucket list items) you have that are unrelated to writing?

I would like to adopt more dogs and to continue to travel frequently.

9. Writing is a very vulnerable experience. Was it scary putting your writing out into the world?

I think publishing something can always feel scary or bittersweet, since you’re letting go of stories and characters you’ve created and letting them out into the world. But it means you can create new stories, so I always try to focus on that.

10. How do you like to get involved in the reading/writing community?

I founded an online group for LGBT+ artists and writers when I was 15! I was the head of the group, and I co-ran it from 2015 to 2018. My friend, Bronwen Brenner, who is a brilliant young writer, now runs it. I think it’s important for artists to have community spaces.

11. You are a very young writer, how are you so talented? Do you believe you were born with it? How have you improved your writing over the years?

Thank you! When I first started writing, I read constantly and tried to experiment with form and styles in my own work, which helped me a lot.

Thank you so much Brynne, for connecting with me and telling us more about yourself! I am still so in love with the cover of Orpheus Girl! The book will be out October 8th and you can preorder it now on Barnes and Noble. If you don’t remember what Orpheus Girl is about from my 5-star review here is the Goodreads Synopsis:

Abandoned by a single mother she never knew, 16-year-old Raya—obsessed with ancient myths—lives with her grandmother in a small conservative Texas town. For years Raya has been forced to hide her feelings for her best friend and true love, Sarah. When the two are outed, they are sent to Friendly Saviors: a re-education camp meant to “fix” them and make them heterosexual. Upon arrival, Raya vows to assume the mythic role of Orpheus to escape Friendly Saviors, and to return to the world of the living with her love—only becoming more determined after she, Sarah, and Friendly Saviors’ other teen residents are subjected to abusive “treatments” by the staff.

In a haunting voice reminiscent of Sylvia Plath, with the contemporary lyricism of David Levithan, Brynne Rebele-Henry weaves a powerful inversion of the Orpheus myth informed by the real-world truths of conversion therapy. Orpheus Girl is a mythic story of dysfunctional families, trauma, first love, heartbreak, and ultimately, the fierce adolescent resilience that has the power to triumph over darkness and ignorance.

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Comment down below if you plan on reading this book when it comes out!

Spoiler and RANT Review: Watching You

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I’m starting to write this way too late at night (morning?), but this book is haunting my thoughts (no, not in a good way). It’s sad to give a book a poor review, but alas, it must be done sometimes. I considered just not reviewing this book, as I’ve done with a couple other books that I’ve read recently. I just have so many books to read right now and if it’s not an Advanced Reading Copy that I feel obligated to review, it takes too much time away from reading and the many other things I have to do. However, I find bad reviews as important as good ones. For a great book, we should notice what a book did well, and what made the plot/characters/writing so appealing so it can be replicated or repeated in the future. For a bad book, it’s crucial to notice why the book fell short. How could it have done better? In addition, it’s nice to give readers a heads up on what they’re getting themselves into so they don’t waste their time. Without further ado, be prepared for the copious amount of ranting that follows…

I’ve only recently gotten into reading thrillers, and I’ve loved every one that I’ve read so far. For example, Anonymous Girl, The Night Before, and Believe Me. This is the first one that has really disappointed me and it’s taught me a lot about what I like about the genre and my perspective on it. I’ve talked in my thriller reviews before about how crucial it is to drop just enough information to give the reader a feeling that they “knew it!” in the end but still couldn’t be sure. This book did an atrocious job of that. I knew from the very first hint she dropped what would happen in the end. It was so clear what the author wanted me to believe, but because that answer was far too obvious, I knew that wasn’t actually what would happen.

Allow me to stop being so vague, I did say this was a spoiler review. DO NOT READ ON IF YOU DON’T WANT SPOILERS. The book follows the lives of lots of different characters in a small town in England called Melville Heights. The very first few pages tell us that a woman in this neighborhood has been brutally murdered, despite the “safe” area they are in. I did like learning about the murder so early on because then every time we meet a new female character, I would wonder is she gonna end up dead? I noticed that other disgruntled readers of this book didn’t like how many characters there were to keep track of. In hindsight, it was a lot and would get me tripped up sometimes, especially when one of the girls was called Joey and I just kept forgetting that it was a girl. ANYWAYS, it was slightly distracting, but didn’t bother me too much. (I like to look on Goodreads and sigh with relief when a few sane people agree with my unhappiness with a book, and then sometimes I read glowing reviews and I wonder what the world has come to. I’m being dramatic, let’s continue…)

Throughout the whole book, we are led to believe that Mr. Fitzwilliam is a serious creep (and he is!), and to me it was understood that the author wanted me to believe that he was the murderer. However, obviously, just because he’s a creep doesn’t mean he murdered someone. Lot’s of characters in the book have some kind of mental issue or wild streak or Asperger’s, but ALL of them have secrets. Anyways, a little past halfway, the author makes it SO OBVIOUS who is going to be the killer, then a little later I realized who would be killed, and why. The author wants us to believe that the murder is caused from an affair of some sort because there are so many and it would just make sense. But then there’s this incident that keeps being brought up of Mr. Fitzwilliam being attacked on a holiday many years ago. I put some pieces together and long story short of one of the female character’s (I forget her name) younger sister killed herself when they were young and it was actually because Mr. Fitzwilliam’s wife bullied her so much. When the sister recognizes Mr. Fitzwilliam and his wife in the neighborhood, she decides to take revenge on the wife. It was such a bore to even explain that and I feel like it didn’t even make sense, but whatever (I’m being dramatic again).

I held out hope that I would be wrong and I would be caught completely by surprise, I wanted to be wrong! But, unfortunately, I wouldn’t be writing this rant if I had been surprised. All in all, you have been warned, do with it what you will.

Wow this is the longest post I’ve written in a while! Thanks for reading! Ever read a book you were dreadfully disappointed by? Comment down below!

First Line Friday 7/12/19

The weekly meme called First Line Friday is hosted by Wandering Words. It is too easy to judge a book by its cover, its title or author, but how about by its opening lines? First Lines Fridays aims to get readers hooked on the first lines of a book before its details are revealed to them, allowing them to step out their comfort zone and discover new genres and authors.

Wow, it’s been three years since I’ve done this tag! I’m trying to post more often and get more involved in the book blogging community again, so this is one of my baby steps into doing that. This first line Friday will be brought to you by a book that I recently read (and did not post a review of) and I really enjoyed it.

I’ve know Death a long time, but now Death knows me.

I open my eyes carefully, blink a few times. Slowly the darkness fades. A abre rom, lit only by the green and red glow of small machines and the shaft of light falling through the half-closed door. The nocturnal silence of a hospital. It feels as thought I’ve woken from a dream that’s been going on for sveral days. A dull, warm pain in my right leg, my stomach, my chest. In my head a faint buzzing, getting louder. Gradually I realize what must have happened.

I’ve survived.

Read more to see what book this is from!

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ARC Review: Wicked Saints

36118682Title: Wicked Saints

Author: Emily A. Duncan

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Publication Date: April 2, 2019

Synopsis: A girl who can speak to gods must save her people without destroying herself.

A prince in danger must decide who to trust.

A boy with a monstrous secret waits in the wings.

Together, they must assassinate the king and stop the war.

In a centuries-long war where beauty and brutality meet, their three paths entwine in a shadowy world of spilled blood and mysterious saints, where a forbidden romance threatens to tip the scales between dark and light. Wicked Saints is the thrilling start to Emily A. Duncan’s devastatingly Gothic Something Dark and Holy trilogy.

My Rating: 4.5 stars!

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ARC Review: Cursed

36489909Title: Cursed

Author: Karol Ruth Silverstein

Publisher: Charlesbridge Teen

Publication Date: June 25, 2019

Synopsis: As if her parents’ divorce and sister’s departure for college weren’t bad enough, fourteen-year-old Ricky Bloom has just been diagnosed with a life-changing chronic illness. Her days consist of cursing everyone out, skipping school–which has become a nightmare–daydreaming about her crush, Julio, and trying to keep her parents from realizing just how bad things are. But she can’t keep her ruse up forever.

Ricky’s afraid, angry, alone, and one suspension away from repeating ninth grade when she realizes: she can’t be held back. She’ll do whatever it takes to move forward–even if it means changing the person she’s become. Lured out of her funk by a quirky classmate, Oliver, who’s been there too, Ricky’s porcupine exterior begins to shed some spines. Maybe asking for help isn’t the worst thing in the world. Maybe accepting circumstances doesn’t mean giving up.

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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Mini ARC Review: Virtually Yours

42202007Title: Virtually Yours

Author: Sarvenaz Tash

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

Pub Date: June 4, 2019

Synopsis: How bad can one little virtual lie be?

NYU freshman Mariam Vakilian hasn’t dated anyone in five months, not since her high school sweetheart Caleb broke up with her. So, when she decides to take advantage of an expiring coupon and try out a new virtual reality dating service, it’s sort of a big deal.

It’s an even bigger deal when it chooses as one of her three matches none other than Caleb himself. That has to be a sign, right?

Except that her other match, Jeremy, just happens to be her new best friend IRL.

Mariam’s heart is telling her one thing, but the app is telling her another. So, which should she trust? Is all fair in modern love?

My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

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ARC Review: The Silence Between Us

42771975Title: The Silence Between Us

Author: Alison Gervais

Publisher: Blink

Release Date: August 13, 2019

Synopsis: Moving halfway across the country to Colorado right before senior year isn’t Maya’s idea of a good time. Leaving behind Pratt School for the Deaf where she’s been a student for years only to attend a hearing school is even worse. Maya has dreams of breaking into the medical field and is determined to get the grades and a college degree to match, and she’s never considered being Deaf a disability. But her teachers and classmates at Engelmann High don’t seem to share her optimism.

And then there’s Beau Watson, Engelmann’s student body president and overachiever. Maya suspects Beau’s got a hidden agenda when he starts learning ASL to converse with her, but she also can’t deny it’s nice to sign with someone amongst all the lip reading she has to do with her hearing teachers and classmates. Maya has always been told that Deaf/hearing relationships never work, and yet she can’t help but be drawn to Beau as they spend more and more time together.

But as much Maya and Beau genuinely start to feel for one another, there are unmistakable differences in their worlds. When Maya passes up a chance to receive a cochlear implant, Beau doesn’t understand why Maya wouldn’t want to hear again. Maya is hurt Beau would want her to be anything but who she is—she’s always been proud to be Deaf, something Beau won’t ever be able to understand. Maya has to figure out whether bridging that gap between the Deaf and hearing worlds will be worth it, or if staying true to herself matters more.

My Rating: 3 stars

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