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: Rogue Princess


Rating: 4 out of 5.

  • Author: B.R. Myers
  • Genre: Sci-fi, Young Adult
  • Page Count: 298
  • Date Started: February 15th
  • Date Finished: February 21st
  • Spoilers? No

A Brief Description

A princess fleeing an arranged marriage teams up with a snarky commoner to foil a rebel plot in B. R. Myers’ Rogue Princess, a gender-swapped sci-fi YA retelling of Cinderella.

Princess Delia knows her duty: She must choose a prince to marry in order to secure an alliance and save her failing planet. Yet she secretly dreams of true love, and feels there must be a better way. Determined to chart her own course, she steals a spaceship to avoid the marriage, only to discover a handsome stowaway.

All Aidan wanted was to “borrow” a few palace trinkets to help him get off the planet. Okay, so maybe escaping on a royal ship wasn’t the smartest plan, but he never expected to be kidnapped by a runaway princess!

Sparks fly as this headstrong princess and clever thief battle wits, but everything changes when they inadvertently uncover a rebel conspiracy that could destroy their planet forever.

Goodreads || Amazon


There is no greater power than the power of choice.

B.R. Myers

my review

Rogue Princess by B.R. Myers is a gender-bent Cinderella retelling that takes place in a far off solar system. The two main characters are Delia, the princess of Astor, and Aidan who is a chore boy in the palace that Delia resides in.

The two characters meet after Aidan sneaks on to a ship that Delia is using to attempt an escape from the palace to run away from the duty she has to marry a prince and secure an alliance with one of the nearby planets. This is the only thing she can do to save her failing planet.

Okay, so first things first, I enjoyed this book overall. I thought the characters each had their own individual voices and there were some twists and turns that left me reeling. The world building was also pretty fantastic. The world was fleshed out and had a very rich culture and you can tell that the author put a lot of work and effort into fleshing it out. I also loved the way most of the characters interacted. I loved the relationship that Delia had with her sister Shania. Shania had me laughing out loud at multiple different spots in the book. There were also some things revealed later in the book (major spoilers that I won’t go into here) that had me YELLING.

The problems that were facing Astor, which was, in short, an energy crisis, were real and pressing issues that really drove the plot. Delia had to choose to marry a prince to save her planet or choose her own happiness and she could not have both.

While all this is going on, there is also a rebel plot that is brewing and could destroy the life that Delia knows and cherishes. So, Delia has some problems. I loved how headstrong and stubborn Delia was, how she was unwilling to bend or break and how she was willing to do anything to save her planet while also not compromising her happiness.

All of this being said… I felt like the relationship between Aidan and Delia progressed far too quickly. I felt like there was no real buildup. They met maybe twice, had only talked for a little bit and were already thinking of other in terms of “I love them.” Delia didn’t even know Aidan’s name for a good bit and she was already thinking of marriage. I enjoyed their relationship more as the book progressed and after I suspended my belief on the speed of which they were “in love.”

Overall, I enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone who loves fantasy/sci-fi YA. Think Cinder by Marissa Meyer.

I hope everyone has a great night and as always keep reading!

~Cam

Book Review: Do You Dream of Terra-Two?


Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

  • Author: Temi Oh
  • Genre: Science Fiction
  • Page Count: 532
  • Date Started: February 9th
  • Date Finished: February 15th
  • Spoilers? Yes.
  • Content Warnings: Depression, Suicide, Mental Illness, Panic/Anxiety Attacks, Moments of casual racism (but they are called out)

A Brief Description

A century ago, scientists theorised that a habitable planet existed in a nearby solar system. Today, ten astronauts will leave a dying Earth to find it. Four are decorated veterans of the 20th century’s space-race. And six are teenagers, graduates of the exclusive Dalton Academy, who’ve been in training for this mission for most of their lives.

It will take the team 23 years to reach Terra-Two. Twenty-three years spent in close quarters. Twenty-three years with no one to rely on but each other. Twenty-three years with no rescue possible, should something go wrong. And something always goes wrong.

Goodreads || Amazon


There is no easy way from Earth to the stars.

Temi Oh Pg 186

My Review

Spoilers ahead!

Plot

Do You Dream of Terra Two? is a novel that follows 6 members of the crew Damocles who are headed to Terra-Two, an Earth-like planet that is a 23-year voyage from Earth. The United Kingdom Space Agency recruits teenagers at the age of 12/13 to train for six years before they begin the long voyage to “New Earth”

I had a few thoughts on this book. Overall, I thought it was okay. I felt like the book could have been significantly shorter, at just over 500 pages, it dragged at some points.

I also found it to be a little unbelievable? You’re telling me that a space agency is going to send 6 teenagers into space with such little adult supervision? I just found it a little bit unlikely all things considered. Also, they were sent into space directly after one of their crew members, someone that they lived with and that they were expecting to spend 23 years with, (spoiler ahead) committed suicide and they just moved on? They went ahead with the launch anyway, with just some minor psychological testing. I found this unlikely, especially if they were being sent on a voyage that would last 23 years.

In addition, some of the astronauts were sick, some with mental illnesses and another with cancer (!!) I just find it odd that any space agency would let someone who is dying go on a voyage of this sort, and it was explained away and shrugged off. Now mental illnesses are a different story because many can be managed with medication and therapy, but there was nothing of the sort taking place in this book until much later. Not only that, but due to the nature of the voyage I figured that some of these illnesses would have been caught in the rigorous psychological testing that would take place before the voyage. Another seems to be suffering depression that had an onset during the voyage, but it was not really addressed in a healthy manner. I go into this a little more in the character section.

Writing

There were also some misspellings and grammar issues? For example, there was a missing question marks and things that should have been caught by an editor. This is a really small thing to be nit-picky about, and it’s not a huge deal.

Otherwise, I found the writing very beautiful. It was easy to read and follow.

Characters

One of the characters, Harry, oh… Harry. Harry is the Pilot and Commander in Training for the Damocles ship. At the very beginning of the book I really, really disliked his character. He is the type of person who walks the Earth expecting the world to hand him everything. He has his hand outstretched, expecting to be handed something from everyone he meets. He’s an asshole, pure and simple. I felt nothing for him but disgust and hatred. He’s literally everything I hate in a person. That being said, his character was well written, and very easy to hate.

Poppy, is the Head of Communications and the In-Flight Correspondent. She is also a hyper-polyglot who speaks a multitude of languages. I liked her point of view. She grew up in a very tenuous and unsteady home life. She was raised in a small town where she didn’t feel like she had any aspirations. Here is the thing though, (another spoiler here) after spending a few months on the ship, it appears that she is suffering from a very serious mental health condition and I find it hard to believe that something like this was not caught before, or better, that the doctor on board didn’t catch this after Poppy had spent the first week straight in bed and didn’t try to do anything to help her. I felt for her character. As someone who has dealt with depression and has dealt with periods of time where the only thing I feel like doing is laying in bed, I truly felt for her and related to this.

Astrid, is the astrobiologist on board. She is the twin sister of Juno (see below). I liked Astrid’s character. I felt like she was rather hopeful about getting to Terra-Two. She was a dreamer, and had many dreams about landing on this far-flung world. She became entranced by the “New Creationists” who are a cult that sprang up after Tessa Dalton, the woman who first discovered Terra-Two, was martyred.

Juno, who is Astrid’s twin sister, is the trainee medical officer on board. She doesn’t really understand Poppy’s struggles and doesn’t really do anything that is productive or healthy to help her. She just assumes that Poppy is doing this out of her own desire, and uses some pretty harmful logic to try to get Poppy out of the “rut” she is in. This is also incredibly dangerous logic for the Medical Officer in training to have, as mental illness is just as real and valid as physical illness.

Eliot, is the communications specialist and the junior flight engineer on board. This is a character that we did not get a lot of information about and we very rarely saw his point of view. In addition, he was the significant other of the astronaut that committed suicide at the beginning of the book. They were basically “connected at the hip” and were incredibly close. Eliot was very shaken by Ara’s death and when he finally got into space he was hallucinating that he saw Ara’s ghost inside and on the outside of the ship. This is a valid reaction to grief, but I’m surprised that the space agency did not postpone the flight or prevent Eliot from going on the mission that was so important to the future of humanity.

Jesse, is the backup astronaut who took the place of Ara Shah, who was supposed to be the junior botanist on board. Since he was a last minute add on to the crew he feels incredibly out of place with the rest of the team. He feels left out and lonely at first, but as time passes he gets closer to some of the members. All of this being said, I liked his character. He feels like he doesn’t really belong and has some serious impostor’s syndrome, which I can certainly relate to.

Last thoughts

All of that being said, I enjoyed the book. I thought that it was interesting to see the reactions to things that happened to the crew and a lot of the things that went wrong are things that very well could likely go wrong in space. Space is hard, and getting there is half the work. I am interested to read anything else that this author writes.


Have you read this? Did you like it?

Have a wonderful day, and as always, keep reading!

~Cam

Book Review: The Way of Kings


Rating: 5 out of 5.

  • Author: Brandon Sanderson
  • Genre: High Fantasy
  • Page Count: 1254
  • Date Started: January 2nd
  • Date Finished: February 9th
  • Spoilers? No

A Brief Description

I long for the days before the Last Desolation. Before the Heralds abandoned us and the Knights Radiant turned against us. When there was still magic in Roshar and honor in the hearts of men.

In the end, not war but victory proved the greater test. Did our foes see that the harder they fought, the fiercer our resistance? Fire and hammer forge a sword; time and neglect rust it away. So we won the world, yet lost it.

Now there are four whom we watch: the surgeon, forced to forsake healing and fight in the most brutal war of our time; the assassin, who weeps as he kills; the liar, who wears her scholar’s mantle over a thief’s heart; and the prince, whose eyes open to the ancient past as his thirst for battle wanes.

One of them may redeem us. One of them will destroy us.

Goodreads || Amazon


A story doesn’t live until it is imagined in someone’s mind.

Brandon Sanderson pg 1005

A Brief Review

Brandon Sanderson has woven a complex high fantasy tale set in a rich and detailed world with equally morally grey and complex characters.

This story follows a myriad of characters, at least 5 or 6 main characters throughout the course of this tome, this is an epic fantasy after all. The characters start off in very separate places and story lines, but they eventually collide into one final endgame. Some of the story lines are more interesting than others but in the end, I loved each and every character.

Kaladin Stormblessed, is probably my favorite character that Brandon Sanderson has written to date, if not ever. He’s a compassionate, compelling man who has been forced to join Bridge Four as a bridgeman. This means that he and the rest of his Bridge crew carry a bridge on their backs so that the army can cross the caverns and ravines that criss-cross the Shattered Plains. Kaladin aims to become an inspiration to those around him, to lift them from their despondant depression. To shake them into rising above themselves and to becoming more, and he succeeds. I loved the camaraderie that exists in Bridge Four and how close they all get. His development and the strength of his character arc made him one of my favorite characters to read about.

Shallan, a young girl who is visiting Kharbranth, a city of knowledge and learning, to seek an object that can save her family from destitution. She is an artist, with a photographic memory. There are parts of the story that offer some of her drawings and sketches and this only added to my enjoyment of the book, as it added so much world-building and information for the reader effortlessly. She will stop at nothing to get this. She gets herself into some pretty sticky intrigue and political plots. I liked this plot, but I know it’s not as popular as the others in this book. I really liked her character and how she would stop at nothing to get her family what they needed. I will say that this particular character arc felt distant from the character arcs of those at the Shattered Plains, but it certainly offered much-needed insight.

Dalinar, a respected highprince who is a legendary general and warrior is one of the other POVs. He has a very interesting story line. He feels guilty about an earlier failure that leaves him feeling burdened with guilt and doubt. Not to mention that he gets these strange and very real visions that befall him every highstorm (more on those later). He struggles with honor duty to his nation.

Adolin, son of Dalinar… (More on his story line later)

Roshar, the world that this story takes place in is unbelievably complex and detailed. There are highstorms that sweep the land. These are these very high powered storms that are infused with Stormlight, which is a magical element in this world. Humans need to hide everytime one of these storms sweeps the land. The plants and life in Roshar has adapted to these powerful storms, and the landscape changes as well.

The magic system was not explained as much, but I can imagine that more will come to light (ha, get it?) in the sequels. As far as I can tell, there are magical things called Shards that can be used to craft shardblades and shardplate, these are magically infused weapons and suits of armor that make the wearer and user incredibly powerful. There are not as many of these suits of armor and swords around, so the highprinces and nobles are fighting for these, as they will make their armies more powerful.

As far as the plot, there were moments where it dragged, but that seems to be the same for most high fantasy stories. The last 150 pages or so had me on the edge of my seat, and the conclusion of this left me needing more.

All of that being said, I can’t wait to read Words of Radiance and continue these characters stories.

Have you read this? What did you think?

~Cam

January TBR

Happy New Years! Here are some of the books that I am planning on reading in January of 2020! I think I have a pretty broad selection here, so my hope is that I can find some brand new loves.

Vicious- V.E. Schwab
The Magicians- Lev Grossman
Velocity Weapon- Megan E. O’Keefe
The Starless Sea- Erin Morgenstern
Starsight- Brandon Sanderson
The Way of Kings- Brandon Sanderson
Radiance- Catherynne M. Valente
The Anatomy of Story- John Truby
The Savior’s Champion- Jenna Moreci

There are a few books here that I’ve been meaning to read for a very very long time, so I know that those will be the priority, but I feel like I have a really good spread here for books I want to get through. I’m hopeful to find some new favorites this year. What are you reading first in 2020?

~Cam

Favorite Books of 2019

I can’t believe it’s the end of 2019! It’s the end of a decade! We are now on to the 2020s, and I’m pretty excited for what they’ll bring. I’m not going to lie, I read a lot of really good books in 2019. It was really hard to choose the following six (sort of) books as my favorites of 2019. I read some books I liked, a few books I didn’t like, and a lot of books I loved! Without further ado, here are my favorite books of 2019:

The Shadow of the Wind- Carlos Ruiz Zafon

This book is a love letter to readers everywhere. It tells the story of Daniel, the son of a bookseller. His father takes him to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, where he finds a mysterious book, that he loves. When he tries to look for more books written by the author, he finds that they are systematically being destroyed. I loved this book. It is poetic, and beautiful and I cried much of the time I was reading it.

The Nevernight Chronicles – Jay Kristoff

I had to cheat and put these all together, because I loved each and every single one of these books! I read these one after another, and I have no idea how anyone could have waited the two years that it took for Darkdawn to be released after Godsgrave. I always think about these books and always want to re-read them.

Into the Drowning Deep-Mira Grant

While I didn’t really LOVE the ending of this book, I loved reading it and it scared me to pieces. This is a book about a scientific crew that navigates to the Mariana trench in search of the mermaids that massacred the previous voyage.

The entirety of this novel had me sitting on the edge of my seat and jumping at every bump in the night. The way these mermaids were written was downright terrifying.

I would highly recommend anyone who is in search of a thrill and as terrified of the great deep blue as I am.

The Poppy War- R.F Kuang

This is the story of Rin, a young orphan who is accepted into the top military academy in the empire of Nikara.

This story was gory and bloody and told the tragedies of war, with magic and shamanism to boot. This is definitely not a story for the faint of heart, as it doesn’t really sugar coat the aspects of war. There are parts that are gory and descriptive, but I think it added to the story.

The characters are morally ambiguous which is another trait I love to read about in a character.

The Fever King- Victoria Lee

I’ve recently read and reviewed this one. I especially love how poignant this story is to the struggles that the United States is going through today, magical diseases withstanding, obviously.

I loved the characters in this story and was blown away by the writing and the plot.

Not to mention that this story also has a webcomic that has gorgeous art. Read it here.

His Majesty’s Dragon

I recently read and reviewed this one as well! (The last few months of 2019 were really good for favorite reads it seems).

This book was about a naval captain, Laurence, who finds a dragon egg. Once this dragon egg hatches, the dragon, Temeraire is bonded to Laurence.

So begins the adventure of these two as they join the King’s Aerial Corps to fight in the Napoleonic Wars. I really loved the bond that Temeraire and Laurence have in this book and the way that it continued to grow.

I also really loved the idea of the alternative history of the Napoleonic Wars with dragons. I highly recommend this for anyone who likes alt-history or dragons!

What were your favorite books of 2019? Did we have any that were similar? What are you excited to read in 2020? I hope you have a wonderful rest of your year, and a very happy new year!

Have a wonderful day, year, and as always, keep reading.

~Cam

Book Review: His Majesty’s Dragon


Rating: 5 out of 5.

  • Author: Naomi Novik
  • Genre: Fantasy/ Historical
  • Page Count: 353
  • Date Started: December 23rd
  • Date Finished: December 27th
  • Spoilers? Yes-ish?

A Brief Description

Aerial combat brings a thrilling new dimension to the Napoleonic Wars as valiant warriors ride mighty fighting dragons, bred for size or speed. When HMS Reliant captures a French frigate and seizes the precious cargo, an unhatched dragon egg, fate sweeps Captain Will Laurence from his seafaring life into an uncertain future – and an unexpected kinship with a most extraordinary creature. Thrust into the rarified world of the Aerial Corps as master of the dragon Temeraire, he will face a crash course in the daring tactics of airborne battle. For as France’s own dragon-borne forces rally to breach British soil in Bonaparte’s boldest gambit, Laurence and Temeraire must soar into their own baptism of fire.

Goodreads || Amazon


A Review

The synopsis of His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik captured me almost instantly. Historic setting! The Napoleonic War! DRAGONS! What is not to love?

A sea captain, William Laurence suddenly finds himself bonded to a dragon whose name is Temeraire. His fate has suddenly changed and he finds himself in His Majesty’s aerial corps, which is very different from the Navy. From there, he is thrust into training and tactics of aerial battles.

The two have a really sweet and engaging relationship. Temeraire is truly one of the cutest and most lovable characters I have read in the last year. I want to know him just so I can give him the biggest hug. You can tell that he loves Laurence, and vice versa.

There are some characters, some who are not even supposed to be antagonists of the story that I want to strangle *(ahem, Rankin)* and others who have gone through much hardship and struggle to get where they are.

The setting definitely did not disappoint. This is set in 1800s England, and it loosely covers the events of the Napoleonic Wars, but with dragons. There isn’t really much else that you can ask for here.

To boot, this book has some major character growth, not only by our main main Laurence, but by many of the side characters. Laurence starts out the novel being categorically against the idea of being in the Aerial Corps, but as he gets to know Temeraire and the other men (and women!!) that make up the Aerial Corps, he really grows into his new post. I was really happy that the author included women who fought in the ranks as well. I find that most “history” novels seem to fit the narrative that women don’t have a place in such things, but this book strays from that. I will say that there were some scenes where our main character still holds those kinds of ideals, but I feel like this changes as the novel progresses and he sees just how powerful and kickass these girls are (Harcourt is one of my favorite characters as well.)

Furthermore, as he learns more about who and where Temeraire comes from, the plot really thickens. I’m very very intrigued to read the next one. I even went hunting for the sequel in a few of the bookstores in this very small town I am staying in for the sequel. Alas, I did not find it.

The novel is slow burn, up until the end when the pace really starts to pick up, but goodness did I love every second of it. I laughed, I cried, and then I cried some more. I would highly recommend that you read this if you like alt-history and dragons!

This book made me wish that dragons were in fact real so I could have one because goddammit, do I want a baby dragon.

Have you read this? What were your thoughts? What is your favorite book with a dragon in it?

~Cam

Book Review: Fortuna


Rating: 4 out of 5.

  • Author: Kristyn Merbeth
  • Genre: Science Fiction/ Space Opera
  • Page Count: 506
  • Date Started: December 15th
  • Date Finished: December 22nd
  • Spoilers? No

A Brief Description

Fortuna launches a new space opera trilogy that will hook you from the first crash landing.

Scorpia Kaiser has always stood in Corvus’s shadow until the day her older brother abandons their family to participate in a profitless war. However, becoming the heir to her mother’s smuggling operation is not an easy transition for the always rebellious, usually reckless, and occasionally drunk pilot of the Fortuna, an aging cargo ship and the only home Scorpia has ever known.

But when a deal turns deadly and Corvus returns from the war, Scorpia’s plans to take over the family business are interrupted, and the Kaiser siblings are forced to make a choice: take responsibility for their family’s involvement in a devastating massacre or lay low and hope it blows over.

Too bad Scorpia was never any good at staying out of a fight.

Perfect for fans of Becky Chambers and Catherynne M. Valente, Fortuna introduces a dazzling new voice in science fiction.

Goodreads || Amazon


Fear only makes us weak if we let it stop us.

Kristyn Merbeth pg 432

A Review

This book was a story about a family who are smugglers and the trouble that they get themselves into.

The story was a dual perspective, Scorpia, a rebellious, mostly drunk pilot of Fortuna, the family ship, and her brother Corvus, who went away three years ago to fight in a profitless war on his home planet of Titan. Now Corvus is back, and this puts Scorpia in jeopardy of losing her spot as owner of the family business.

Overall I enjoyed this book. The characters were rich, and the family dynamic was amazing to read about. Each character had their own distinct voice and opinions which made it especially fun to read when those opinions clashed.

The one thing I can say for certain is that Scorpia makes some pretty bad decisions. She puts her family, herself and many others at risk for very selfish reasons and she has a mean streak at times. All of that being said, I think this was all believable for her character and the story. She is a strong character who has strong held beliefs and opinions and she will not back down from them.

Another thing I liked was that this book had some pretty good LGBT-rep. There was a female/female romance and there was also a non-binary character who was referred with their correct pronouns (they/them/their) for the entirety of the time they were mentioned in the book. Albeit, they were not a main character.

All of that being said, I enjoyed this book, and look forward to the next in the series.

Have a great day!

~Cam

Book Review: The Fever King


Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

  • Author: Victoria Lee
  • Genre: Fantasy/Scifi
  • Page Count: 369
  • Date Started: December 7th
  • Date Finished: December 15th
  • Spoilers? No.

A Brief Description

In the former United States, sixteen-year-old Noam Álvaro wakes up in a hospital bed, the sole survivor of the viral magic that killed his family and made him a technopath. His ability to control technology attracts the attention of the minister of defense and thrusts him into the magical elite of the nation of Carolinia.

The son of undocumented immigrants, Noam has spent his life fighting for the rights of refugees fleeing magical outbreaks—refugees Carolinia routinely deports with vicious efficiency. Sensing a way to make change, Noam accepts the minister’s offer to teach him the science behind his magic, secretly planning to use it against the government. But then he meets the minister’s son—cruel, dangerous, and achingly beautiful—and the way forward becomes less clear.

Caught between his purpose and his heart, Noam must decide who he can trust and how far he’s willing to go in pursuit of the greater good. 

Goodreads || Amazon


A review

Wow was this book good.

This book takes place in 2122, in the former United States. The country has been ravaged by magical nuclear war, and is split up into different countries now. The two most prominently featured are Atlantia and Carolinia. The story mainly takes place in Durham, Carolinia. (The former Durham, North Carolina). Magic is a virus that kills most of those that if infects. Atlantia has been ravaged by magic and is basically an uninhabitable wasteland. This has caused many refugees to escape to Carolinia.

Carolinia is known for it’s very anti-refugee/immigrant laws and are known to deport many back to Atlantia which is basically a death sentence.

The premise of this book is something that really called out to me. The idea is that magic is a virus that infects people. Most of the people that are infected die, but those that survive are called Witchings.

This is what happens to our main character, Noam Alvaro. He is the sole survivor of the viral magic that killed his family. He gains the ability of a technopath, or basically the ability to control technology. This catches the eye of the military of Carolinia and he is thrust into a world unlike the one that he was raised in.

Noam, the son of undocumented immigrants, has spent his entire life fighting for immigrant and refugee rights. Knowing that Carolinia is ruthless with it’s deportations, he sees a chance to make a change.

Immigrant and refugee rights should be a no brainer, but the story deals with this in a way that is very poignant and true to the atmosphere that exists in the United States today. Immigrants are trapped in detention centers and refugee camps that make the spread of magical disease much more deadly. In addition, they are relegated to slums and cramped housing that also help the spread of magic.

As someone who was raised by immigrant parents and was surrounded by immigrant friends, I can say that this one especially hit close to home. Like Noam, I was lucky enough to be born in this country, a country that is, mostly, (only mostly) free of crisis that cause refugees to flee their countries of birth. This was an especially poignant read.

Also, this book has an LGBT romance. Noam is bi-sexual, as is the main love interest, who is a prickly on the outside, cinnamon roll on the inside, kind of character. (I love Dara) The romance was not instant and it was built up over time. It was believable and I loved them both.

This story also covers other topics such as sexual abuse, loss and grief. The story was emotional and I really enjoyed the writing.

The plot was engaging and I found myself rooting for most of the characters and I could not stop reading it.

I gave this a 4.5 because there were certain things in the plot that just seemed a little bit too convenient, but they did not deter from my enjoyment. I would highly recommend reading this! I can’t wait for the Electric Heir, which is the sequel) that is due out in 2020!

Have you read this? What did you think?

~Cam

WWW Wednesday: October 9th

This tag is hosted on Taking on a World of Words It’s easy to do, just answer the three questions below!

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently Reading

The Diviners- Libba Bray
Goodreads

I literally just started this yesterday, so I don’t have many thoughts on this one quite yet. Look out for a review soon.

Recently Finished Reading

Into the Drowning Deep- Mira Grant

I just finished and wrote a review for this! Check it out here.

To Be Read

Ninth House- Leigh Bardugo

This is one of my most anticipated releases for October. I would have started it yesterday, but it was delayed in shipping. 😦 I’ll start it as soon as I have finished the book I’m reading. Look out for a review soon!

What about you? What are you currently reading? What did you finish recently? What are you planning on reading soon? Let’s discuss in the comments! Have a wonderful day and as always keep reading.

~Cam