Tuesday, March 31, 2020

March 2020 Wrap Up

Alright! Book reviews!

Title: Get Well Soon
Author: Jennifer Wright
Narrator: Gabra Zackman

Synopsis: This book discusses some of the worst plagues in history, starting with the Antonine Plague all the way to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The author gives details about the diseases and how humans responded: what worked and what didn't? How good leadership can help in the face of horrible epidemics and pandemics.

Thoughts: This was a re-read for me. I needed a break from the next book listed because it felt a bit intense. I'm not sure what it says about me that reading a book about diseases made me happy. But this is a good book. It is humorous and informative. I highly recommend it.

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Title: Children of Virtue and Vengence
Author: Tomi Adeyemi
Narrator: Bahni Turpin

Synopsis: Zélie with the help of Amari and others managed to bring magic back to Orïsha. But this also awoke the magical heritage in the nobles and they have learned to use it. And some of them are much more powerful than they should be. Zélie and Amari try to unite the maji in order to bring down the monarchy, but both are warring with themselves: Zélie is trying to figure out how much more pain and suffering she can take and Amari is trying to find her place in this group of maji that want nothing to do with her. And civil war is coming.

Thoughts: There are things I enjoyed about this book and things that I did not. First of all, I cannot stand Zélie's inability to communicate with people (even those she cares for) and she wavered so often between leaving and staying that I started to get frustrated. I'm not entirely sure that is justified. But I like the types of magic and how the maji can use their gifts. There were parts that were sad or intense, but some parts seemed to drag a little. Honestly, I will probably continue reading the series eventually. I really like the narrator, she does a great job.

Rating: 3-31/2 stars out of 5

Title: Daughter of the Pirate King
Author: Tricia Levenseller

Synopsis: Alosa, daughter of the pirate king and captain of the Ava-lee has been sent on a dangerous mission: to intentionally be caught by a rival pirate lord in order to steal a map. She has endless tricks up her sleeves, but the rival first mate, Riden, is making her life and mission much more difficult.

Thoughts: I picked this up for the Owlcrate-A-Thon this month. It is one of the oldest Owlcrate books I own (probably not the oldest, but definitely close). So I read it in one weekend and I was hooked!

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Title: Daughter of the Siren Queen
Author: Tricia Levenseller

Synopsis: Alosa has completed her mission to complete the map to an island rumored to be full of treasure. Some of the pirates who had held her captive are now her prisoners or part of her crew. But one of them plants doubts in her mind about her father's intentions. After breaking into the pirate king's office and discovering some of his secrets, Alosa and her crew make a run for it, trying to beat the pirate king and his fleet to the island the map leads to.

Thoughts: After completing the first book, I almost immediately turned around and ordered this one from Amazon. I enjoyed this duology quite a bit. They were fun and well-written and generally kept me on the edge of my seat.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5 stars

Title: Tweet Cute
Author: Emma Lord

Synopsis: Pepper works hard to try to have it all and to be the best. She gets great grades, is the captain of the swim team, and is a general perfectionist. On the side she helps her family's (or mom's) business by handling their Twitter account. But behind these masks is a girl who feels like a complete outsider and whose only friend is an anonymous guy she texts on an app. Enter Jack who feels completely overshadowed by his golden twin brother and feels destined and doomed to inherit his family's deli, a fate he loves and hates all at once. Behind the scenes, he develops apps (like the one the school uses to text anonymously). And he manages the Twitter account for his family's deli. And then the Twitter battle happens.

Thoughts: I had seen this book being advertised long before it came out and it seemed like just the kind of YA contemporary book that I would like. And I did. Parts of it dragged a little bit and I feel like it took a little bit to get into, but in the end, I enjoyed it. It was very cute and a nice, easy read.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5 stars

Title: Crime and Punishment
Author: Fyodor Dostoevsky
Narrator: Anthony Heald

Synopsis: Rodion Roskolnikov is an impoverished and rather desperate student and those conditions drive him to murder a local pawnbroker and her sister. The novel follows his deranged mental state before, during, and after the murder as well as how her perceives the people around him (including those who are trying to catch the murderer).

Thoughts: This was a book club book for March. I had never read it so I thought I should give it a try since it is a classic. While the story telling was OK (if repetitive), I kind of hated the main character, Rodion. He was kind of an entitled baby. He was desperate for money but refused to get a job or do much to actually improve his situation. I did like his friend, Razumikhin, who he definitely did not deserve. The stories of the other characters and how they entwine with Rodion's was more interesting to me than Rodion going in circles with his guilt, horror, and justification of his crime.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Title: You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost)
Author: Felicia Day
Narrator: Felicia Day

Synopsis: This is an entertaining and interesting memoir from Felicia Day, of web show fame. She has funny, quirky stories from across her life and she is unflinchingly honest about her experiences and her thoughts and feelings through it all.

Thoughts: This has been on my audible wish list for a long time. And I wanted something different after listening to Crime and Punishment. Plus, this book starts with a "Y" which I still needed for my alphabet reading challenge. So the stars aligned and I listened to this one. I enjoyed it. I only really know of her in passing, I remember watching a little of the Guild, but that's about it. This was a fun, interesting book about her life; growing up weird, and dealing with anxiety, depression, and bullying. And it was great to listen to her tell her story.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5 stars

Title: Ouran High School Host Club
Author: Bisco Hatori

Synopsis: Haruhi is a poor scholarship student at the very wealthy and prestigious Ouran Academy, where the students have too much money and too much free time. In a twist of fate, Haruhi ends up in debt to the school host club (a gang of six attractive boys). Originally mistaken for a boy herself, she keeps her gender a secret from the rest of the school to become a host to work off her debt. And hilarity ensues.

Thoughts: I needed something light, quick, and fun to read. Someone on one of the online reading groups I am a part of was looking for fun manga to read and this one was suggested. So I decided to read it. I watched the anime years ago and always wanted there to be more. Plus I love Kyoya (I cosplayed as him once many years ago. I still have the costume). But these are fun and I plan to read more in the next couple of months as I feel I can afford them on Kindle.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Least favorite book read this month: Probably Crime and Punishment
Favorite book read this month: Oh, that's a hard one this month. I enjoyed most of my reads, but none of them really knocked my socks off.

Reading challenge: 22 out of 75 books read.
Alphabet challenge: completed C (Children of Virtue and Vengence), O (Ouran High School Host Club), and Y (You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost)). I am working on getting some more books lined up for this challenge. I have 12 out of 26 done!

Another reading-related challenge: a lady who belongs to a reading group I am in on Facebook and who I now follow on Instagram created this Quarantine Readers' Challenge. You can find her on Instagram: @stephani_writes. But here are the prompts. I know a couple of these have passed, but this is fun so I want to share it!

If you are interested in seeing the results, check out my Instagram and follow the hashtags!

I know things have been a little crazy lately with the COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing. I hope everyone is being safe and smart out there. I will try to put together a little disease post about it (though I am by no means an expert on the virus). Maybe I can pass on some helpful information.

Thanks for reading! Here's to a better April!