Book Review (No Spoilers)
A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J Maas
I know, I know. A Court of Silver Flames has probably been all over social media since its release in February. But there’s a reason for that.
This book is freaking good, y’all.
Like any Sarah J Maas fan, I could not wait to get my hands on this book. I even bought the Kindle version because I couldn’t wait for my delayed hard copy any more. Ms. Maas took the Prythian world to the next level with her novel of Nesta and Cassian. With new mythology, new creatures, and new heat, this book is jam-packed with a great story, fierce action, and all the things the Maasdom has come to expect.
But she went even further here. In taking us back to the Night Court and sharing Nesta and Cassian with us, Ms. Maas managed to build a fantasy that also addresses mental health, self worth, and the Me Too movement. The struggles and desire for empowerment may be cloaked in Fae magic here, but they’re relatable to us humans as well.
A 5⭐️ read with an added 🔥 for heat
The Unraveling of Cassidy Holmes by Elissa R Sloan
An aspiring solo artist
A girl group that needs a fourth
Teenage girls with too much money, fame, and freedom
What could possibly go wrong?
We find out in The Unraveling of Cassidy Holmes. I’ve wanted to read this book since it’s 2020 release, and while I’m glad I finally read it, it left me slightly underwhelmed.
This book should have brought up all the emotions for me. Failed friendships, body image issues, mental health struggles, toxic relationships, and the Me Too movement all play significant roles in this book. Told in dual timelines of the girl group Gloss’s rise to fame and the death of Cassidy “Sassy Gloss” Holmes more than 10 years later, this book is packed with so much. But, that’s what keeps me from giving it 5⭐️s. It was just too much. If maybe one or two of the subplots weren’t included, I would have enjoyed it more. However, Ms. Sloan handled sensitive issues with care and Grace.
A 4⭐️ read for me.
The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah
I start any book by Kristin Hannah with the expectation that she’s going to devastate my emotions with her characters and plot lines. And, with that in mind, The Four Winds did not disappoint!
I could feel the despair and heartache that these characters experienced in the Dust Bowl of 1930s Texas and in the neverending circle of poverty when Elsa, our heroine, moves her children to California in search of a better life. From the touching relationships between Elsa, her in-laws, her children, and her friends, and the emotive descriptions of the landscape during the Great Depression, Ms. Hannah has created a book that will stay with me for a long time.
I can’t recommend this 5⭐️ book enough!
What 5⭐️ book do you think people should read?
Book Review: Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas
A 5⭐️ Read
Angie Thomas does it again. She’s ripped my heart out and then patched it back together with her beautiful prose, vivid imagery, and glorious characters. I truly hope Ms. Thomas continues to tell stories about Garden Heights because each novel gets better and better.
Concrete Rose is the story of Maverick Carter. He’s 17 and dealing with a too much: his dad is in prison, he’s dealing drugs outside of his gang’s operation, and he just found out he’s a father. That’s just the start of the challenges that Maverick faces in Concrete Rose, and every bit of his journey brings all the emotions.
With plenty of Easter eggs from The Hate U Give and On the Come Up, this book takes us back to the Garden Heights in the 1990s. It’s a powerful, emotional book that deserves all the Sevens, all the roses, and all the stars.
The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
The House on Mango Street is one of those books I should have read a long time ago. Now that I’ve read it, I’m a bit salty that it was never assigned in school. This book, with less than 150 pages, is a bit like reading magic.
With chapters of short vignettes, and. Cisneros gives a glimpse into Esperanza’s life on Mango Street in Chicago. The protagonist speaks to the reader using stream of consciousness, vivid imagery, and unique characters who experience their own tragedies. Esperanza comes of age while participating in and observing life in her neighborhood, and she too faces tragedies. At times buoyant and heartbreaking, this book brings so many emotions to the surface.
I enjoyed the writing in this book as much as the stories Esperanza shares. Ms. Cisneros brings rhythm and poetry to the narrative, and I loved it!
A 5⭐️ read!
On the Come Up by Angie Thomas
I loved this book! I knew that Ms. Thomas is an amazing author when I finished The Hate You Give, but On the Come Up brings her talent and insight to another level.
As the narrator, Bri gives us a look at how a strong young woman internalizes her surroundings and all the pressures that come with her experiences and those of her family and friends. Her desire to become a rapper is just part of the journey as she finds herself.
A definite 5⭐️ read to finish up this month of reading. Now I’m even more excited to read Concrete Rose, Ms. Thomas’s newest release!
Book Review: A Woman is No Man by Etaf Rum
There are some books that manage to rip your heart out, filling you with grief for the characters, and then they give you hope for the future at their conclusion.
A Woman is No Man is one of these books. Told from the viewpoint of three generations of Palestinian-American women, this book explores fate, choices, culture, and traditions. It is a book about suppression and violence, but also about faith and personal strength. From their deep-rooted desire to do the best and live up to cultural expectations, the main characters explore and challenge what it means to be a woman in two very different cultures.
This is a beautiful book, one that I finished in less than 48 hours. Deya, Isra, and Fareeda are nuanced characters who show their strengths in different ways. Etaf Rum writes in a gorgeous style, showing vulnerability and thoughtfulness on every page.
A Woman is No Man is a 5⭐️ book, one that I highly recommend.
Book Review: “Of Mice and Men” by John Steinbeck
I should have known better. I’ve heard enough pop culture references to “Of Mice and Men” that I am familiar with the story. But dang it, the ending just wrecked me. In fact, the entire book stomped on my emotions. Lennie just wants to love and George does what he can to protect him in his gruff way, but the results are just tragic. Curley and his wife are cruel, backward, and vengeful. Steinbeck crafted a story that is simple and complex and emotive, but I had a really difficult time with the racist, derogatory language and content.
I read this one as an audiobook and in written form at the same time. Listening to the audio was a unique experience because I generally don’t choose fiction for my audiobooks. Overall, I’m glad I finished it, but it was a 3⭐️ book for me. I know this is supposed to be an American classic, but it just didn’t work for me despite pulling on my emotions.
Book Review: “The Fire Next Time” by James Baldwin
I really enjoyed Baldwin’s essays in “The Fire Next Time.” The powerful subject matter of racial discrimination made me hurt and think, two actions that only a truly amazing writer can impart on a reader. I must admit I knew very little about Baldwin before I picked up this book of essays, but I am challenging myself to learn through reading this year. And this book is part of that goal.
Baldwin’s writing style is so interesting as well. I could feel the fire burning as I read the words, even without much flourish of adjectives. His pace quickened as he made his points, and then it slowed when he needed to give the reader a chance to ponder the words. This is a beautiful, powerful book that describes the terrible racial divides in our country.
Book Review: Party of Two by Jasmine Guillory
I’ve slowly stopped being a fan of rom-com reads over the past decade, so I didn’t pick up Party of Two with the expectation of loving it. But, having enjoyed The Wedding Date a couple of years ago, I figured another Guillory book would be an entertaining read.
And yes, this book was entertaining. I enjoyed the character development and the will-they-or-won’t-they trope. Overall, it was a 3 ⭐️ read because I’m just not a rom-com person, I guess. However, I love the diverse characters Guillory creates and the BIPOC representation in her books.