[Review] THE GLASS HOTEL by Emily St. John Mandel, 4 out of 5 stars

About the Book

Title: The Glass Hotel
Author: Emily St. John Mandel
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf (March 24, 2020)
Find it on: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository

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Review

Vincent’s life is full of surprising twists. She is a product of a forbidden love, with her mom falling in love with a married man. In her early teens, her mom suddenly disappears, leaving everyone asking if she drowned or committed suicide. Moving forward in her mid-twenties, Vincent now works as a bartender in Hotel Caiette, and helps her problematic half-brother get a job there too. One night, she meets Jonathan Alkaitis, a wealthy man more than twice her age, and a relationship blooms based on conditions and convenience. What she thought was an easy way through the kingdom of money ends in a fiasco impacting many sorrowful lives.

This literary fiction with a hint of paranormal keeps a slow pace. While telling the story in a non-chronological order is necessary for the suspense build-up to make sure the revelations come at the right time, this writing style proves to be confusing at times. A lot of things are happening and you need to look out on several characters, but the ending explains everything and is unexpectedly satisfying.

A feminist book with a diverse set of characters, The Glass Hotel is sure to capture the imagination in a gripping way. Trigger warnings include drug abuse, multiple deaths, cheating, sex, blood sugar problems, financial scam, depression, drowning, and suicide.

Thanks to Edelweiss+ and Alfred A. Knopf for giving me a copy in exchange for an honest review.⁣⁣ ⁣For more bookish content and honest reviews, check my sidebar: follow me here and on the rest of my social media accounts.

[Review] WAKE OF DECEPTION by Sasha DeVore, 4 out of 5 stars

About the Book

Title: Wake of Deception
Author: Sasha DeVore
Publisher: Red Pendulum Press (January 2020; first published on November 2016)
Find it on: Amazon | Goodreads | Google Books | B&N

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Review

Sasha DeVore’s Wake of Deception is the first installment in The Wake trilogy. This dystopian thriller is a satirical take on how power-hungry authorities manipulate the thoughts and feelings of the public to support their selfish cause. Hanu is a fourteen-year-old boy with schizophrenia who has spent half of his years in The Flush — a facility that “cures” children showing symptoms of difference and resistance. After all these years, Hanu is already sick of all the medications they are giving him and is convinced that they are only feeding them lies. He finds a way to subtly trick the staff, but his tricks do not hold for too long. He and a few other kids are then sent to The District for some kind of punishment. Little did they know that this punishment is nothing less than death itself.

Wake of Deception shows that being different is not always a bad thing and that it can be an amazing feat, because nobody else can think or act like you. You can either choose to believe what others are saying or you can look deeper inside you, embrace your uniqueness, and use it to rise up and help others. The cold and dry imagery adds to the overall eerie feeling of this dystopian fic. Fans of The Hunger Games, Divergent, and The Maze Runner series will surely enjoy this trilogy. Other than the ones explicitly stated or implied above, trigger warnings also include violence and death of a friend.

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This book was reviewed for Readers’ Favorite. Check my sidebar; follow me here and on the rest of my social media accounts for more bookish content and honest reviews!

[Review] THE GIRL WITH THE LOUDING VOICE by Abi Daré, 4 out of 5 stars

About the Book

Title: The Girl with the Louding Voice
Author: Abi Daré
Publisher: Dutton Books (February 4, 2020)
Find it on: Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads | Penguin Random House

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Review

Adunni’s life in Ikati is miserable but still bearable somehow. With the death of their mother, she and her siblings are now relying on their father who spends most of the day drinking and self-loathing. At the young age of fourteen, Adunni is forced to grow up quickly and manage the household. She is driven by positivity and love for her family. Things start to crumble down when her father agrees to wed her to his old friend in exchange for money.

Abi Daré’s The Girl with the Louding Voice takes you on an experiential journey of a child-turned-bride-turned-housemaid in Nigeria. It is both expository, as it reveals the current state of Nigeria and probably most of Africa, and persuasive, as it shows an isolated and extremely lucky case of a girl who has been in the right place at the right time. Adunni has faced a lot of harrowing challenges but achieves her dreams in the end. While this is a wonderful story of bravery and hope, it is also a call to end the injustice and inequality that still remain despite global efforts to resolve them.

Adunni may be simple but she is smart, funny, and always asks the right questions. Intentionally using broken English is necessary for the narrative to be realistic and compelling, and I commend Daré for daring to do that. The book is feminist and has shown a lot of instances of women helping women regardless of social status. This book is to all the Adunnis out there who believe there is a light at the end of the tunnel, not realizing that they, themselves, are the light; this is to all the Khadijas out there who have been betrayed but still choose to love and hope anyway; this is to all the Rebeccas out there who silently cry for help; and this is to all the Tias out there who make this nasty world a better place to live in.

Trigger warnings include death of a parent, social injustice, violence against women and children, child labor, child marriage, sexism, adultery, alcohol and gambling problems, rape, and human trafficking. Please note that these warnings are included not to discourage people from reading the book and are not an attack on the author. They are listed here to be inclusive and sensitive to future readers who might have experienced trauma related to these events. (I can’t believe I even have to note this down because of an author who felt that putting TWs on reviews is a bad thing.)

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This book was reviewed for Edelweiss+. Check my sidebar; follow me here and on the rest of my social media accounts for more bookish content and honest reviews!

[Review] THE UNEXPECTED SPY by Tracy Walder, Jessica Anya Blau, 4 out of 5 stars

Tracy Schandler recounts her younger years — from being bullied in high school to being a more self-aware Delta Gamma girl at the USC, to landing a career spot in the CIA and eventually, the FBI. Tracy is a sucker for history and, like most of us, she wants to make this world a better place. Getting face-to-face with the most wanted terrorists in the early 2000s, she had never once felt afraid. What really led her to start her revolution is learning that the discrimination against women is just as much of a struggle as having to catch and extract information from Islamic extremists.

The events in this book are based on real events, and because of the sensitivity of the information, several parts of the narrative have been redacted. There are also a few typographical errors present. In spite of these, the message that Tracy Schandler (now Walder) conveys is still loud and clear.

The writing style is expository, and there’s nothing more enlightening than learning recent history from a primary source. The content is heavy, but the book has the right amount of humor and sarcasm to balance it out. Initially, the fight for gender equality is not inherent, but as the book comes to an end, that seems to be the over-arching theme. The focus shifts abruptly from fighting criminals to fighting double-standards.

Though this book deals with war and violence, it is slow-paced in revealing the ups and downs of being a spy. The narrative slowly builds up and ends with an inspiring call to action. Trigger warnings include terrorism (e.g., 9/11), hypotonia, graphic injuries, death of a loved one, PTSD, racism, and sexism.

Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for giving me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Check my sidebar, follow me here and on the rest of my social media accounts for more bookish stuff and honest reviews!

[Review] THE VALENTINE DINE OR DIE by JB Michaels, 4 out of 5 stars

JB Michaels’ The Valentine Dine or Die is the second Mac and Millie Mysteries book. Mac is a former cop who is supposed to be moving on and writing a memoir, but the cop life looks like it isn’t done with him just yet. Millie is a regular banker, or at least that’s what she wants others to believe. She and her family practice witchcraft, and while this is not a secret to Mac, she reserves her witchy side on more important things such as some of Mac’s cases. This romantic mystery book is all about their first Valentine’s as a couple. But the theatrical show where they go to turns into a suicide case. Or is it murder? With Mac’s background and Millie’s supernatural powers, they once again sleuth together to find the culprit.

The Valentine Dine or Die is a short read that can be finished in one sitting. The story and writing style may be simple, but the book is fast-paced and exciting. It can be read as a standalone, although the first book is a must-read for a few details which Michaels does not choose to elaborate on this one. Mac and Millie make a great team; they are one adorable couple who treats each other as equals. The book cover is just as cute as the story. Just imagine what science and witchcraft can bring when these two are around. There are some spelling and grammatical errors, but they are not disruptive in general. Trigger warnings include leg injury, bombing, murder, adultery, Seasonal Affective Disorder (i.e., winter depression), and a homosexual relationship.

This book was reviewed for Readers’ Favorite. Check my sidebar, follow me here and on the rest of my social media accounts for more bookish stuff and honest reviews!

[Review] HAPPILY EVER HIS by Delancey Stewart, 4⚝

QOTD: Are you the type who revels in the spotlight or would you rather be a helping hand in the background?⁣

Ryan McDonnell’s acting career is falling apart. He’s not a bad actor, just a victim of badly-written films. Juliet Manchester is dubbed as America’s sweetheart, the hottest actress in Hollywood today. But she’s having a rough time after divorcing her husband who is also blackmailing her. Ryan and Juliet’s agents find a solution and they agree to be in a win-win fake relationship. With this game of pretend, Ryan can have another shot at fame with Juliet by his side, and the press won’t bombard Juliet with too many questions regarding her divorce. They cause a hot scene at LAX before flying to Maryland, Juliet’s hometown, to celebrate her grandma’s 90th birthday. Ryan is true to his promise not only to save his career but also to be able to send his dad in a suitable nursing home. But when Ryan lays his eyes on Juliet’s sister, Tess, he swears it was love at first sight.

⁣Delancey Stewart’s Happily Ever His is cheesy, hot, angsty, and funny. This book is a good choice if you’re looking for a quick rom-com read. The story unfolds with Ryan and Tess’ alternating points of view. It’s pretty amazing that the readers get to know both sides of every scene. I like Gran’s audacity, Juliet’s passion, Ryan’s sincerity, and Tess’ relatability. Tess is the perfect fangirl but I’m just sad that she’s always talking herself down. The romance is adorable; it happened pretty fast but it did not feel forced. The ending is appropriate and wonderful. Trigger warnings include profanity and sex.⁣

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This book was reviewed for Readers’ Favorite. For more honest reviews and other bookish stuff, check my sidebar and follow me on the rest of my social media accounts: InstagramGoodreads, and Twitter.

[Review] SUCH A FUN AGE by Kiley Reid, 4⚝

Happy last day of 2019 and happy Pub Day to this book! Thanks to NetGalley & G.P. Putnam’s Sons for giving me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Emira Tucker is a twenty-five-year-old African American who is struggling to find a “normal” employment. She’s turning twenty-six soon and that means she has to find a job that will cover her own health insurance because she can’t depend on her parents anymore. She applies as a part-time babysitter for Alix and Peter Chamberlain’s eldest daughter, Briar. One night, the Chamberlains get one of their windows busted due to a racist comment made by Peter on national television. Filled with panic, Alix calls Emira, who’s in the middle of a friend’s party, to distract Briar for a while as they deal with the police. What Emira doesn’t know is that this night will have a huge impact on her life. This particular night, at Market Depot, Emira will encounter a racist guard, come to know her future boyfriend Kelley Copeland, and soon learn about the connection of Kelley and Alix.

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid is masterfully written. It is both feminist and diverse. Initially, the story was kind of slow for me but in the middle up ’til the end, everything got more exciting. I love how the friendships in this book were so relatable. I also love how adorable Emira is with Briar.

The conflict was so intriguing that I couldn’t wait until everything was explained and resolved. This book has got me scrutinizing Kelley and Alix page after page, looking for clues as to who is really telling the truth. I was also questioning and constantly checking-in with myself because this book made me realize that sometimes, privilege seems too mundane in our daily lives that we forget that there are people who don’t get to enjoy these things as much as we do.

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