How to Be a Better Ally: Books on How to Be an Anti-Racist

I haven’t read enough of these books. I will acknowledge that first and foremost, but I certainly plan to change that.

I plan to read all of these by the end of this year, as I think that it is important that I educate myself on exactly how the system props me up and leaves people of color disenfranchised. The system that lets white people profit off the backs of Black people has gone on for FAR too long. I highly recommend that my followers educate themselves in this regard. We can’t let this continue.

I have included a list of books that are written by Black authors (with the exception of two, which I will make a note of.) These also come recommended by Black content creators. At the end of this post I am also going to put a list of petitions to sign and places to donate.

All of this being said, nothing will replace listening to the experiences of Black people. Reading these books will certainly help, but this only serves as a way to educate yourself so you do not put the emotional burden of “How do I not be racist?” on Black people who already have enough to stress over. I will be including a list of Black Booktubers that you should be watching. I recommend watching them and getting further information by listening to their experiences.

Reading books isn’t going to change anything, acting will though. Educate yourself and then ACT. Don’t be silent. Silence is violence and makes your complicit.

Black Lives Matter. They have always mattered, they matter today, they will matter tomorrow and they will matter everyday after that. If you have a social media account, share information, share links to petitions and places to donate. Use your voice!

—Books I have Read—

Between the world and me- Ta-nehisi Coates

This book is a memoir of sorts that is written by the author, Ta-Nehisi Coates in the form of a letter to his son about what it means to grow up Black in America. This was a very emotional and enlightening read. Coates writes what it means to be a Black man, and how Black lives are taken for plunder in America. I highly recommend this book and think it should be required reading.

White Fragility- Robin diangelo

*The author of this book is white.*
The author Robin Diangelo writes about White Fragility which refers to the defensive moves that white make when challenged racially and exactly how we (as white people) can change that to confront our own internalized racism. It is an in-depth exploration written by an anti-racist scholar who uses her own experiences and gives herself no passes. She talks about how white fragility protects racial inequality and what we can do to engage constructively and learn how to truly be anti-racist.

—Books I PLAN to read—

How to be an antiracist- Ibram X. Kendi

This is a book where Ibram X. Kendi, a historian and professor at American University talks about how we can liberate new ways of thinking about ourselves and each other. It imagines what an antiracist society would look like and how we can play an active role in building it. It combines ethics, history, law and science to bring a personal and engaging narrative. It brings an awareness for us to bring ourselves to the next step, which is contributing to the formation of a truly just and equitable society.

hood feminism- Mikki kendall

This is a book that talks about the problems that plague modern day feminism and how it ignores Black women and their needs. This is a collection of essays where Mikki Kendall draws on her own experiences to discuss how the modern day feminist movement has failed to address the needs of Black women, such as hunger, violence and hypersexualization. It comes with commentary on politics, pop culture and the stigma of mental health. I realize that the modern day feminist movement really focuses on the needs of white women and leaves women of color behind. I want to know how I can be intersectional with my feminism and think that this will be an important read.

stamped from the beginning- Ibram x. Kendi

This book argues that racist ideas are alive and well and has a long and lingering history. It goes through the history of anti-Black history in the United States. It follow the history from the beginning to today. Racist ideas and thinking did not arise from ignorance or hatred. They were created and popularized dude to an effort and discriminatory policies that rationalize the inequities in everything form wealth to health. I think this one is going to be especially enlightening. It also offers tools to expose racist ideas and what we can do to combat them.

White Rage- Carol Anderson, Ph.D.

This talks about the phenomenon that the white public has when African Americans make advances towards full participation in our democracy. It looks at the history of the US from the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment, the Brown v Board of education, the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts of 1964 and 1965 respectively and how each was met with a reaction that was met with outrage and other ways to suppress Black people. Some examples would be Black Codes, Jim Crow, shutting down of schools and the war on Drugs. Anderson pulls back the veil on covered actions that have been hidden under the guise or protecting democracy.

The color of Law- Richard Rothstein

*The author of this book is white*
Richard Rothestein writes about the myth that American cities were racially divided by defacto segregation and instead shows that dejure segregation- laws and policy passed by governments, local, state and federal- are responsible for the discriminatory patterns that continue to today. It talks about the residential patterns that became deeply embedded in the 1920s with explicit racial zoning and how they continue to this day. It also shows how police and prosecutors have upheld these standards by supporting violent resistance to Black families in white neighborhoods.

Why i’m no longer talking to white people about race- Reni Eddo-Lodge

This is a book written by journalist Reni Eddo-Lodge and a discussion about the cacism and Britain and the Black history being erased. It explores issue about the political purpose of white dominance, whitewashed feminism and the inextricable link between class and race. This doesn’t focus on the history of the US, but shows that just because you don’t live in the US, it doesn’t mean that racism does not exist in your country.

the new jim crow- Michelle alexander

Michelle Alexander is a former litigator turned legal scholar who argues that we have not ended racial caste in the US, we have simply redesigned it. (In the US, Black people make up 13% of the population, yet they make up over 40% of the prison population. [source] [another source] This book show that by targeting Black men and decimating communities of color, the criminal justice system functions as a system of racial control, while formally adhering to the principle of color blindness. This challenges the civil rights community — and all of us– to place mass incarceration as a new movement for justice in the US.

As stated above, I’m going to include some places to donate and some petitions that you can sign if you have not already. (Take a look at the “More Petitions/ Ways to Help, as new petitions and places to donate are added periodically)

PETITIONS
Petition for George Floyd
Petition for Breonna Taylor
Petition for Tony McDade
Petition for Ahmuad Arbery
Petition to Stop the use of rubber bullets (Graphic Content Warning for the image associated with this petition.)
Defund the Police Petition
Life Sentence for Police Brutality
Hands Up Act
More Petitions

PLACES TO DONATE
GoFundMe for George’s Family || GoFundMe for Breonna (and Legal Representation) || GoFundMe for Ahmaud || Minnesota Freedom Fund (Helps pay for bail for those who cannot afford it) || ACLU || The Bail Project || To The Protestors || Black Owned Businesses || Organizations || To the Victims || Other Ways to Help

I’m also going to include some of the Black Booktubers that I have been watching, I highly recommend that you subscribe (and ENGAGE) with their content.

Myonna @ Myonna Reads
Bee @ Bee But Bookish
Noria @ Noria Reads
Naya @ NayaReadsandSmiles
Jesse @ Bowties & Books
Jasmine @ L’amour De Books
Cecilia @ That Disney Chik
Mina @ Mina Reads
Mika @ Mika Auguste
Shae @ Books with Shae
Shane @ Luxurious Blu

There are SOOOO many more books and content creators out there. If you have some others, please let me know! I’m always in the mood to follow new wonderful content creators and read more diversely.

As I mentioned in the beginning of this post, if you are white, please educate yourself. Listen and amplify the voices of Black people. And use YOUR voice to stand up for them.

I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy.
Keep reading,

~Cam
#BlackLivesMatter

Book Review: Inkheart


Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

  • Author: Cornelia Funke
  • Genre: Lower Young Adult/ Fantasy
  • Page Count: 576
  • Date Started: May 30th
  • Date Finished: June 4th
  • Spoilers: One slight spoiler (I’ve included a note of where and put it in italicizes)

A Brief Description

Twelve-year-old Meggie learns that her father, who repairs and binds books for a living, can “read” fictional characters to life when one of those characters abducts them and tries to force him into service.

Characters from books literally leap off the page in this engrossing fantasy. Meggie has had her father to herself since her mother went away when she was young. Mo taught her to read when she was five, and the two share a mutual love of books. He can “read” characters out of books. When she was three, he read aloud from a book called Inkheart and released characters into the real world. At the same time, Meggie’s mother disappeared into the story. This “story within a story” will delight not just fantasy fans, but all readers who like an exciting plot with larger-than-life characters.

Goodreads || Amazon


“Books have to be heavy because the whole world’s inside them.”


My Review

This is a story about Meggie and her father Mo and his unique ability to read characters off of the written page. This is a re-read of a series I read when I was a young kid.

Growing up, I always dreamed of this and of entering a new and unique world. It was my dream to explore the worlds that I had read about in books. This one really explains the love I had for books when I was a kid. Meggie was someone that I related to when I was 12 years old, but not so much anymore.

This book was okay. It was definitely made for the younger end of YA, and it certainly read that way, which isn’t a bad thing, but it’s not a genre that I usually read, and since I’m a whole 13 years older than Meggie, I found her immature at times. Which is totally normal! She’s a kid, a 12 year old, and reacts in a way that any and every 12 year old would react given the situations that her father and her get into. I think this says a lot about her character and the author knowing the audience that she is intending to write for. Her father was also a really good dad. He cared for her and did everything he could to protect her.

Now, the villain… the big bad! Now I wish he was worse? He was supposed to be this big bad man who loved to revel in the pain of others, but… he never did? The worst thing he did was (slight spoiler) lock them away in a dungeon and PLAN to kill them. He didn’t do anything else. This could have been the limits that the author set due to the age of the readers, but it is one of the worst “tropes” for me. The ‘I’m so big and evil/ or big and strong, but I don’t do anything to show it.” In fact, one of the big villains henchmen was more evil and sinister than he was!

That being said, it seemed like this author really could not get to the point. This book could have been at least 200 pages shorter than it was. There were parts where it dragged too much for my liking. It took me longer than normal to read this book, and that could have been due to a lot being on my mind.

I know this sounds like I’m hating on the book, but overall I enjoyed it. Meggie and Mo really love books, and this is a story for readers of all ages. It had a big of a fairy tale kind of feel, and I think that the series can only get better from here.

I remember loving the second book in the series very much, so I decided to re-read the series and buy the new covers. Like I said, the first book was okay. I recognize that this was not written for my age range, and that I can’t judge it solely on that. I still plan on reading the next two books in the trilogy, because I’ve heard it gets significantly better. I’ll probably be reading the rest of the series over the course of the summer!

I’m going to put some more links to sign petitions and places to donate for Black Lives Matter below.

PETITIONS
Petition for George Floyd
Petition for Breonna Taylor
Petition for Tony McDade
Petition for Ahmuad Arbery
Petition to Stop the use of rubber bullets (Graphic Content Warning for the image associated with this petition.)
Defund the Police Petition
Life Sentence for Police Brutality
Hands Up Act
More Petitions

PLACES TO DONATE
GoFundMe for George’s Family || GoFundMe for Breonna (and Legal Representation) || GoFundMe for Ahmaud || Minnesota Freedom Fund (Helps pay for bail for those who cannot afford it) || ACLU || The Bail Project || To The Protestors || Black Owned Businesses || Organizations || To the Victims || Other Ways to Help

Thanks for reading, stay safe and healthy,


~Cam

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Book Review: Assassin’s Quest


Rating: 5 out of 5.

  • Author: Robin Hobb
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Page Count: 838
  • Date Started: 5/20
  • Date Finished: 5/29
  • Spoilers: Yes, for books 1 and 2

A Brief Description

King Shrewd is dead at the hands of his son Regal. As is Fitz—or so his enemies and friends believe. But with the help of his allies and his beast magic, he emerges from the grave, deeply scarred in body and soul. The kingdom also teeters toward ruin: Regal has plundered and abandoned the capital, while the rightful heir, Prince Verity, is lost to his mad quest—perhaps to death. Only Verity’s return—or the heir his princess carries—can save the Six Duchies.
 
But Fitz will not wait. Driven by loss and bitter memories, he undertakes a quest: to kill Regal. The journey casts him into deep waters, as he discovers wild currents of magic within him—currents that will either drown him or make him something more than he was.

Goodreads || Amazon || Book Depository


“But a living is not a life.”


This was a pre-scheduled post, but before it goes up, I wanted to add something.

Before my review I want to have a short chat:

As crazy as the world has been, I hope that everyone knows how much their lives matter. With that being said, all lives will not matter until black lives matter. I was incredibly saddened by the murder of George Floyd, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor that occurred over the last month or so. If you haven’t please sign the petitions here:

Petition for George Floyd
Petition for Breonna Taylor
Petition for Tony McDade
Petition for Ahmuad Arbery
Petition to Stop the use of rubber bullets (Graphic Content Warning for the image associated with this petition.)
Defund the Police Petition
Life Sentence for Police Brutality
Hands Up Act
More Petitions

Another note: Don’t donate to change.org petitions as that money does not go to the victims and instead goes to the website. There are some places to donate below!

Find ways to speak up about senseless violence, racism and police brutality in your communities, and in your social networks. Don’t let this pass us by with nothing changing. This has gone on for long enough. I hope for the safety of all the protesters and activists who are on the front lines. Use your voices to make a change. If you can, there are ways that you can help monetarily, but obviously this is not something that everyone can do, but if you are able, I have included links to many different organizations and the GoFundMe for the families of three of the victims below. (I couldn’t find one for Tony McDade).


GoFundMe for George’s Family || GoFundMe for Breonna (and Legal Representation) || GoFundMe for Ahmaud || Minnesota Freedom Fund (Helps pay for bail for those who cannot afford it) || ACLU || The Bail Project || To The Protestors || Black Owned Businesses || Organizations || To the Victims || Other Ways to Help

Want to donate, but can’t afford to? Watch the video linked here. Watch the ads, as the ad revenue will be donated to Black Lives Matter.

Like I said, not everyone can donate, and not everyone is in a position to protest, especially given the fact we are in the middle of a pandemic, but please know that there are many things you can do to help. I am using my platform here to talk about it. If you can do nothing else, talk about it, and vote for politicians who abhor police brutality and violence. Stand up against racism when you see it. Don’t let this be something that continues past your generation. Enough is enough!

MY REVIEW

Okay, so this is the third book in the Farseer series, and because of that, there will be spoilers for the first two. Fitz has gone through it. His life, to put it bluntly, sucks. He was almost killed at the end of the first book, was ACTUALLY, but only technically, killed at the end of the second book, only to be resurrected by Burrich and Nighteyes at the very beginning of this book. Fitz has decided that he is going to enact his revenge on Regal and wants to kill him. His quest takes him to many distant places, including past the Mountain Kingdom and into territories that have not been seen by humans for generations, all in his search for Verity.

Here’s the thing, I loved the first two books. I really did. One thing that I will say they are slow at times. They are not all action-packed all the time. In fact, they take their time and are very character-based for the most part, but I love that about these books. When it’s action-packed though, it is ACTION-PACKED. Robin Hobb has developed characters and a world that feel real, and that are both fully fleshed out. Everyone has a very unique voice, and she writes her villains well. Regal was a petulant child and I loved to hate him. The world of the Six Duchies is flesh and bone, real to the touch and unlike anything I’ve read before. I loved all the characters, Kettricken, Nighteyes, Burrich, Molly etc.

Robin Hobb has a very simplistic writing style. It’s not overly flowery or adorned. It gets it’s point across well, and typically I’m a fan of flowery writing and prefer it, but in this story, it doesn’t need it. The simplistic, straight to the point language and style really does the story well. As I said, the plot can be a little slow at times, but in this one, you can see why it needed to be that way.

The ending of this one was satisfying although I have some unanswered questions left. I guess I will have to continue with the next series in her Realm of the Elderlings world. Have you read this? What did you think?

Have a wonderful day, stay safe and healthy,

~Cam

May Wrap-Up and Some Overall Thoughts

May has been….busy to say the least. I started a class that has kept me very busy, but in the time that I did have, I read these six books! I started Inkheart at the very end of the month, so I do not have a rating or review for it quite yet, but the others are all found on my blog. You can click the links provided to read them if you want more information!

Uprooted- Naomi Novik
Read my review here!

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
The Deep-Alma Katsu
Read my review here!

Rating: 3 out of 5.
Lovely War- Julie Berry
Read my review here!

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
Vengeful- V.E. Schwab
Read my review here!

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Assassin’s Quest- Robin Hobb
Review to come soon!

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Inkheart- Cornelia Funke
Review to come next month!

Between The World and Me- Ta-Nehisi Coates
Thoughts to come soon!

What have you been reading this month? Are you staying safe and healthy? I hope that you and your loved ones are safe. I’m about to get a little political here, but I feel it needs to be said. As crazy as the world has been, I hope that everyone knows how much their lives matter. With that being said, all lives will not matter until black lives matter. I was incredibly saddened by the murder of George Floyd, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor that occurred over the last month or so. If you haven’t please sign the petitions here:

Petition for George Floyd
Petition for Breonna Taylor
Petition for Tony McDade
Petition for Ahmuad Arbery

Find ways to speak up about senseless violence, racism and police brutality in your communities, and in your social networks. Don’t let this pass us by with nothing changing. This has gone on for long enough. I hope for the safety of all the protesters and activists who are on the front lines. Use your voices to make a change. If you can, there are ways that you can help monetarily, but obviously this is not something that everyone can do, but if you are able, I have included links to many different organizations and the GoFundMe for the families of three of the victims below. (I couldn’t find one for Tony McDade).

GoFundMe for George’s Family || GoFundMe for Breonna (and Legal Representation) || GoFundMe for Ahmaud || Minnesota Freedom Fund (Helps pay for bail for those who cannot afford it) || ACLU || The Bail Project

Like I said, not everyone can donate, and not everyone is in a position to protest, especially given the fact we are in the middle of a pandemic, but please know that there are many things you can do to help. I am using my platform here to talk about it. If you can do nothing else, talk about it, and vote for politicians who abhor police brutality and violence. Stand up against racism when you see it. Don’t let this be something that continues past your generation. That being said:

Have a wonderful day, stay safe and healthy,

~Cam

First Line Friday: Inkheart

“Rain fell that night, a fine, whispering rain.”

This is going to be a First Line Friday post hosted by Hoarding Books!

I think that the first line of this book really sets the mood for everything that’s about to happen. This was a series that I grew up reading, and when I saw that they were getting new illustrated covers, and that they were SO beautiful, I just needed to get it and re-read it. The series is about Meggie, and one night, her father reads aloud from a book called Inkheart, and as he is reading aloud, the villain of the story steps out from the page into her living room. Here begins the adventure that Meggie had only read about in books. The one thing that middle grade books do so well is that they can really seem magical and build surprisingly intricate worlds. To be fair, I don’t remember much more about this series, but regardless, I’m super excited to re-read it!

~Cam

5 Books Set in Space

I love space. I find the concept of it so interesting. The vast starry black just fascinates me. I especially love books that are set in space. Whether it’s on a planet or on a spaceship, whether it’s realistic science fiction, or theoretical science fiction, I love it. If the book is set in our solar system, or fictional galaxies far, far away, I am definitely interested. I’ve compiled a list of 5 books set in space, the first three of which I have read, the next two books I have yet to read. Otherwise, these books are in no particular order. The ones I’ve read have to be some of my favorite space books, anyways:

1. The collapsing Empire- John Scalzi

This is a book where humans have found an extra-dimensional field called the Flow. We can access it in certain parts of space and it transports humans to other stars, other worlds. Humanity moves away from Earth, and the new empire, the Interdependency, requires that no human outpost can survive without the others. But the Flow is changing, and it is cutting off worlds from the rest of humanity. This story follows three individuals, a scientist, a starship captain and the Empress of the Interdependency. They are all in a race to discover what, and if, anything can be done to salvage the interstellar empire. I loved this book. I read it in one sitting while I was flying home to Florida from Maine. It was engaging and kept me really hooked the whole time.

2. The Martian- Andy Weir

I think most people have heard about this book, or have at least watched the movie. It’s about Mark Watney, one of the first astronauts to walk on Mars, and now he is sure that he is going to be the first to die on Mars. A dust storm almost killed him and forced his crew to evacuate, stranding him as they thought he was dead. Mark uses his ingenuity and engineering skills, with a relentless refusal to quit to confront one obstacle after the next. He gets word to Earth and so begins their tireless efforts to rescue him. I loved this book. I can’t say that the science is… COMPLETELY… legit, but it was pretty sound. There were explanations of what Mark was doing to save himself and all the science was well explained, but it wasn’t over-complicated. it as also very action packed and kept you needing to read more, until you can finish it. The movie was also really good. I highly recommend reading the book and then watching the movie.

3. Skyward- Brandon Sanderson

Humans are on the brink of extinction, living underground, constantly being attacked by mysterious alien star fighters. Spensa, longs to be a pilot. She is the daughter of a traitor and has many obstacles in her way to get there. When she discovers the wreckage of an ship, she realizes that she has a chance, if she can repair the ship while also trying to navigate flight school, and more importantly persuade the strange machine to help her. I loved this book, and have been really excited to read the sequel but I just don’t seem to have the time these days! This book was really intense, and the action scenes were SO well written. I love Brandon Sanderson’s action scenes. They’re so fluid and easy to follow, while also keeping the stakes. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to get into YA sci-fi.

4. Velocity Weapon- Megan E. O’keefe

I have not read this one, but something about the cover really called to me. It’s about Sanda and Biran, two siblings that were destined for greatness. Sanda is a high-flying sergeant who has the skills to take down any enemy combatant. Biran is a savvy politician who aims to use his political position to prevent conflict from escalating. However, on a routine maneuver, Sanda loses consciousness when her gunship is blown out of the sky. She awakens 230 years later on a deserted enemy warship controlled by an AI who calls himself Bero. The war is lost. The star system is dead. Ada Prime and it’s rival Icarion have wiped each other form the universe, and so starts our story. Separated by space and time, Sanda and Biran must fight to set things right. This is one that I am super excited for!

5. Sky without stars- Jessica brody & joanne rendell

I have not read this book either, but if seems like it is based on the French Revolution, but in space? Say no more! It went directly on my TBR after this. It’s set on the planet of Laterre, which is governed by an extravagant elite class. The poor are starving, and rebels are resurfacing. We have three characters, a thief, an officer and a guardian. All three roles have some role to play in this dangerous game of revolution, and together they will shape the future of a planet. I’m super excited to read this one!

Those are some books that are set in space. Obviously there are soooo many more, but these are just three that have been some of my favorites and then two that are on the top of my TBR list.

What are some of your favorite space books?

~Cam

Book Review: Vengeful


Rating: 5 out of 5.

  • Author: V.E. Schwab
  • Genre: Sci-fi
  • Page Count: 462
  • Date Started: May 17th
  • Date Finished: May 19th
  • Spoilers? Vague spoilers for the first book in the series, Vicious

A Brief Description

The sequel to VICIOUS, V.E. Schwab’s first adult novel.

Sydney once had Serena—beloved sister, betrayed enemy, powerful ally. But now she is alone, except for her thrice-dead dog, Dol, and then there’s Victor, who thinks Sydney doesn’t know about his most recent act of vengeance.

Victor himself is under the radar these days—being buried and re-animated can strike concern even if one has superhuman powers. But despite his own worries, his anger remains. And Eli Ever still has yet to pay for the evil he has done.

Goodreads || Amazon


I don’t want to survive. I want to thrive.

V.E. Schwab

My reView

As a review of what the first book in the series: Vicious is about Victor Vale and Eliot Cardale. They started out as roommates, they became something close to friends. They were researching near death experiences and if under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities and become and EO (ExtraOrdinary). It also follows them 10 years later, when Victor has broken out of prison and he is determined to catch up to his once friend, now his foe. He is aided by Sydney, who has a stunning ability, and Mitch who is an expert hacker. Meanwhile, Eli is seeking EOs to eradicate every single last one. That’s all I can really say without spoiling book one. Since this is a review of a sequel, if you have not read the first book, proceed with caution, as there may be vague spoilers for Vicious.

Okay, to begin, after the ending of the first book, I was terrified for this book. The characters, Victor specifically, had been through so much already. I loved the first book in this duology. Vicious is dark and it doesn’t shy away from it. It does not pretend to be anything but. The second book is darker. These are dark, morally gray characters that justify atrocities and death to get to their own goals, but damn does V.E. Schwab make you root for them. You WANT them to succeed, at whatever costs necessary.

Speaking of the characters, there are so many, and not one of them is truly good. Every single one of them is… not evil, but human. They feel so real. They make mistakes, they commit sins and they do everything they can to protect those that they care about, themselves included. There were some new characters included that I would like to step on me, but that’s neither here nor there. (Marcella Riggins for any who are curious) I still love Victor Vale, he was one of my favorite characters in Vicious, and that didn’t end with Vengeful. He really did everything he could to protect Mitch and Sydney.

The plot of this book was explosive, it really keeps you guessing, and throw unexpected wrenches in, just to make you keep reading. I read this book in 3 days, just sitting and reading 150 or so pages a day, because anything less felt like a crime. There were parts of this book that were extremely gruesome. It doesn’t shy away from describing the icky and well… vicious… parts of humanity. There were parts that made my skin crawl, for example, if you don’t like medical or surgical descriptions, there is a chunk that might make you uncomfortable. Otherwise, I found the plot engaging. The ending was WILD and left my heart pounding, although I will say that the ending to the first book was stronger overall.

With all of this in mind, I loved this book. I gave it a 5 out of 5 stars, easily. I loved every single moment of it. I recommend this book to anyone who likes comic books, superheros or villains with hearts. Have you read this book? What did you think?

~Cam

Book Review: Lovely War


Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

  • Author: Julie Berry
  • Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction
  • Page Count: 468
  • Date Started: May 9th
  • Date Finished: May 16th

A Brief Description

 A critically acclaimed, multi-layered romance set in the perilous days of World Wars I and II, where gods hold the fates–and the hearts–of four mortals in their hands.

They are Hazel, James, Aubrey, and Colette. A classical pianist from London, a British would-be architect-turned-soldier, a Harlem-born ragtime genius in the U.S. Army, and a Belgian orphan with a gorgeous voice and a devastating past. Their story, as told by goddess Aphrodite, who must spin the tale or face judgment on Mount Olympus, is filled with hope and heartbreak, prejudice and passion, and reveals that, though War is a formidable force, it’s no match for the transcendent power of Love.

Hailed by critics, Lovely War has received seven starred reviews and is an indie bestseller. Author Julie Berry has been called “a modern master of historical fiction” by Bookpage and “a celestially inspired storyteller” by the New York Times, and Lovely War is truly her masterwork. 

Goodreads || Amazon


If music stops, and art ceases, and beauty fades, what have we then?

Julie Berry

My Review

This is a story that is told by Aphrodite the goddess of love, who is standing trial to show that love and war go hand in hand. The telling of this story was very unique and something I had not really seen before. It takes place in World War I and World War II. It really didn’t shy away from the atrocities of war and the destruction it caused to the lives of those that were involved.

The story is about two couples. One of the couples is James, a solider, and Hazel, a pianist. The other couple is Aubrey, a black pianist, and Colette, one of the only survivors of the massacre the Nazi’s committed on her village. The characters were pretty believable, they each had their own personalities and dealt with the war in different ways. I enjoyed the way that the romances developed, although James and Hazel’s developed VERY quickly. But, under the circumstances, you see just -why- it went so quickly. Regardless, I don’t LOVE insta-love, so I had to knock some stars off. I will say, I don’t usually read love stories because of the way that the romances tend to progress, but this one was satisfying and had just the right amount of tension and stakes.

The book had the themes of love, loss, grief, racism, PTSD, and the brutality of war. It showed a real and raw depiction of what life was like in 1910s Europe and how people of color were treated. One of the things I liked was that the main characters really called out racism and it did not go unquestioned on the page. The mental health representation is something I cannot speak for due to the fact that I do not suffer from PTSD.

All in all, I really enjoyed reading this. I didn’t read it as quickly as I wanted to because classes have started for my semester and I’ve been far too busy to read. Overall, I gave this book 3.5 stars because while overall it was enjoyable, I can’t put my finger on why I didn’t rate it higher. This book was enjoyable, but it’s not usually the kind of book I enjoy. I would still recommend this to anyone who loves historical fiction, sad stories, or love stories.

What have you been reading? Have you been enjoying it? Stay safe and healthy out there folks!
~Cam

Five Books Set On the Ocean

The ocean is probably one of the scariest things on our planet. I have a fear of it, of the unknown of it all. We know a lot about the ocean, but when we actually think about it, we have only explored and charted a measly 5 percent! That being said, I’ve been reading a lot of books that are sent on the ocean, so I’ve decided to make a blog post about it! Some of these I’ve read, and some of them are on my TBR. Without further ado, here are five books set on the ocean!

Into the drowning Deep- Mira Grant

This is probably one of the most terrifying books I have ever read. It’s about a voyage to the Mariana Trench by a research vessel that is going to the Mariana Trench to find out if the mermaids that allegedly killed the entire crew of a ship sent 7 years earlier. They find them, and they are not your Little Mermaid-esque mermaids. This book is vicious and kept me up at night. To this day I still think about it, and highly recommend checking it out! I have my review listed here if you want more of my thoughts!

Book Review: Into the Drowning Deep

The Deep- Alma Katsu

At the time of my writing this (May 2020) I am currently reading this. It is a historical fiction novel set on the Titanic on it’s maiden voyage and the hospital ship the Britannic four years later, but it has a paranormal twist. There is talk of spirits and a haunting on the Titanic. Our main character, Annie, tries to find out what exactly is amiss, but before she can, tragedy strikes. Then we see her four years later, aboard the Titanic’s sister ship, the Britannic which serves as a hospital ship. Here, she starts to see ghosts of her past. I’ll be reviewing this soon, I like it so far, but I’ll go more into my thoughts later this week!

The Deep- Rivers Solomon

This is a book that I have not read yet, but it tells the story of the water breathing descendants of pregnant African slave women tossed overboard. They have built an idyllic society in the deep. Yetu, our main character, holds the memories of her people, far too traumatic to remember regularly. Everyone else has forgotten, save one, the historian. Yetu is our historian. The memories haunt her, so she escapes to the surface and learns more about her own past and the future of her people. From there, she learns that her people must reclaim their memories and identity. This is a novella, so it’s rather short. I’ll be reading this soon!

House of Salt and Sorrows- Erin A. Craig

This is a young adult retelling of the 12 Dancing Princesses. Annaleigh lives in Highmoor, a manor by the sea with her sisters, father and her stepmother. Four of her twelve sisters have died tragically. There are whispers that the family is cursed. Annaleigh begins to suspect that the deaths were not accidents. This is supposedly a very creepy, haunting book, which I’m really excited for. It’s been on my list for a while, but I’ve been putting it off for some reason. I love a good mystery

Ice Massacre- Tiana Warner

This is another mermaid book, set on the island of Eriana Kwai. Every year, the island sends warriors to battle the hostile mermaids who are supernaturally beautiful, with one purpose: to lure a sailor to his death.
Every year, these sailors fail to return. Desperate the island decides to send a group of twenty battle-trained girls, who have resistance to the mermaid’s allure.
Our main characer, Meela has lost her brother to the Massacre, and she lives with secrets that have haunted her since childhood.
I’m really intrigued with this one. I have been trying to find a mermaid book that matches Into the Drowning Deep, we’ll see if this one does it for me!

Okay! That’s it for me! It seems that most of the ocean books I have here are about monsters or ghosts on the ocean. I’m certainly down for the creepy, haunting books. Have you read any of these? What did you think? What are some of the most terrifying ocean related books that you have read? Let me know in the comments below

~Cam

Book Review: Uprooted


Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

* Author: Naomi Novik
* Genre: Fantasy/Fairytale
* Page Count: 435
* Date Started: April 27th
* Date Finished: May 4th


A Brief Description

Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life.

Her people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as falling to the Wood.

But Agnieszka fears the wrong things. For when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose.

Goodreads || Amazon


“There’s no kindness in offering false hope.”

Naomi Novik

My thoughts

This book is a fairy tale that is worth reading. It tells the tale of Angieszka and a mysterious wizard called the Dragon. The Dragon takes a girl from Angieszka’s valley every 10 years, and when the girl comes back, she is nothing like she was when she left. Her ties to the valley cease to exist, and she moves away never to return.

The writing was atmospheric and the characters real and believable. I liked most of them and the stakes felt real. The world felt magical and real, almost like I could reach out and touch it. The stakes felt real, and the powers that were against them were powerful, and almost felt insurmountable. There were a lot of twists and turns in the story and it was action packed, particularly the last 100 pages or so.

There was some romance, but it was not the main focus of the story, in fact it was second to the rest of the story, and it progressed naturally! No insta-love here! The romance also made sense for the way that the tale progressed.

The one thing I’ll say is that the magic system was very loose. It was definitely a soft magic system and didn’t have hard and fast rules. I typically prefer my magic systems to be well defined and to have limits, but overall, I think this was done really well. There were some limitations and consequences, but the actual act of doing magic felt too easy? Overall, I’d say that this is a very minor pet peeve for me, and did not detract from my enjoyment of the book at all!

I would highly recommend reading this! It was a very wonderful world built around East European folklore and the characters were enjoyable.

Have you read this, or anything else by Naomi Novik? What did you think? Share your thoughts below!

~Cam