Category Archives: book reviews

Maame by Jessica George, book cover

Maame

Maame by Jessica George is an endearing, emotional story about family, finding one’s self, and coming to terms with life and all that it has to offer.

The books I’ve received from Netgalley have been disappointing lately, so I wasn’t expecting much from this. However, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this novel!

Maame tells us the story of Maddie, who has spent a lifetime convincing herself that the restrictions and isolation in her life are all due to voluntary choices and personal preferences. When her mother returns from Ghana, Maddie is asked to move out. She realizes this means she can finally start living her own life and resolves to be a different person. She will drink alcohol, date, and not say no if offered a cigarette (without becoming addicted).

Growing up, Maddie was told not to speak of family issues. To Maddie, this meant not sharing anything with her friends, as wasn’t everything ultimately a family issue? This also meant Maddie didn’t have many friends or people to talk to. This impacts her ability to interact with her roommates and co-workers, and she soon learns that she needs the support of others.

Living on her own terms, Maddie soon learns that freedom is a double-edged sword and not everything she thought she knew about herself is true.

This novel touches on many topics, ranging from familial love and duty, sexual abuse, elderly care, death, and the comforts of friendship.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for an advance copy in exchange for sharing my opinions. All opinions in this review are my own.

2022 mini-reviews part 1

Often, I don’t write full book reviews for every book I read. However, I like to capture my thoughts about each book whenever I can.

This is a collection of mini-reviews on books I’ve read so far in 2022. There will be a part 2 with more reviews coming soon!

L.A. Weather

L.A. Weather by María Amparo Escandón is a contemporary fiction book, set in Los Angeles. Centered on the Alvarado family, the book dives into the troubles of Oscar and his wife Keila, as well as each of their three daughters.

While I didn’t find anything particularly wrong with this book, I didn’t love it. I’m not even sure I really liked it. It’s a classic story of a plot where if the characters would only talk to each other, much of the drama could be avoided. I didn’t connect with the characters and in some cases, actively disliked them. Each is so caught up in their own issues, they fail to support each other.

And then, somehow, most things are resolved in a not-so-happy-but-better-than-the-status-quo ending.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

The Sun Down Motel

The Sun Down Motel by Simon St. James is a paranormal mystery thriller. Told in alternating points of view, we follow our main character Carly as she re-traces her Aunt Viv’s steps to The Sun Down Motel, trying to uncover what happened when Viv had disappeared 20 years earlier.

Is the motel haunted? Is there something more nefarious going on? The plot was just interesting enough to keep me reading until the end. However, I found the audiobook hard to follow as the voices of Carly and Viv were similar, and like a lot of books with alternating POVs, you’ve got to be paying close attention to know which one you’re on.

Another that I didn’t really love or hate.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Empire of the Vampire

An epic vampire saga, Empire of the Vampire by Jay Kristoff is an amazing start to a new series.

While quite lengthy, Empire gives us a rich world of Vampires, the lore behind the vampires, and an origin story for our main character, Gabriel de León.

Gabriel is a silversaint on a mission to destroy the vampires and defend the remaining humans from slaughter. The novel covers decades, and a strong narrative makes the timeline jumps seem natural. At first, the narrative device of having the main character tell his life story felt a little contrived. However, this was executed exceptionally well, apart from a few places where it did intrude on the story a bit.

Overall, if you like epic fantasy, and particularly vampire stories, I highly recommend this one.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

The Golem and the Jinni

Another epic fantasy novel, The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker tells the story of Chava, the golem, and how she comes to meet Ahmad, the Jinni.

While I had high hopes for this, however, ultimately I found it well-written but very boring. At over 800 pages, it’s quite long. And our titular characters don’t even meet until about halfway through!

This is a heavily character-driven novel, and I would have loved to see more plot.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

The Assassin’s Blade

A collection of novellas, Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Mass is a prequel to Throne of Glass. If you haven’t read Throne of Glass, I recommend starting with that before reading this one.

Containing 5 separate stories, all of these give us insight into the life of Celaena Sardothien and how she came to be imprisoned in Endovier.

I found these very interesting, although lacking in most of the fantasy elements present in the main Throne of Glass series.

Rating: 4 out of 5.
A World of Women book cover

A World of Women

First off, when I requested this book from NetGalley, I didn’t realize it was originally published in 1913.

I found the (newly added?) introduction to the book to be terrible. That should have a been a clue! Regardless, I skimmed and skipped over the intro and started reading.

This novel has a great premise – a plague that seems to affect only/mostly men, and is always deadly. It seems as though it could be highly relevant today, and an interesting read.

No! The dialogue is horrible. Also, the characters are horrible too. I didn’t connect with any character, and quite honestly, didn’t care what happened to them.

I enjoyed a brief section where the well-off daughters go on a binge trying on fancy clothes they have no use for, but that was about it.

There are some interesting concepts buried in here, but none fully developed. What happens when there is only 1 man for every 100 women? What becomes of marriage? Monogamy? Industry? Touched on, but there is such potential in developing this story along any of those plot lines.

Now, since it was written in over 100 years ago, maybe this is to be expected, but this novel presents a very sexist view point. The women that are most like men, or have “masculine” inclinations are implied to be best suited to the new world.

Also, SPOILERS ahead:

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