Tag Archive | #BookReview

“Annihilation” or the Weirdest Science Fiction I’ve Read Book Review




Author: Jeff Vandermeer

Genre: Science Fiction, Mystery

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Rating: ✈️ ✈️ out of ✈️ ✈️ ✈️ ✈️ ✈️



Annihilation is the first book in Jeff Vandermeer’s Southern Reach trilogy, and recounts the story of what is known as Area X. It is an area that has been reclaimed by nature and has managed to remain completely cutoff from the rest of the continent. Since its discovery, there have been 11 expeditions into Area X, some of those expeditions were successful while others resulted in tragedy and murder. When the story begins, the 12th expedition is making its way into Area X, with this particular group being made up solely of four women with very distinct job descriptions. There’s an anthropologist, a surveyor, a psychiatrist who assumes the role of leader, and a biologist who serves as the narrator for the story.

Knowing the sordid history of the region and what happened with each expedition, the women are tasked with mapping the area and collection specimens. They are also meant to each keep written records of what they observe about the area and within one another, all while trying to avoid any possible contamination that may be present.


I added Jeff Vandermeer’s novel to my to read list almost two years ago, after coming across it while browsing through an airport bookstore and thinking that it sounded promising. I finally decided to move it up on my to read list after seeing previews for the film and thinking that it might be a good idea to read the book before seeing the movie. Thus, I picked up a copy from local library and dove in with high hopes for what I was sure would be a truly unique and different science fiction book than what I was used to.

The book lived up to the fact that it was different from other science fiction books, it was weird and as a reader I was never truly certain that what the narrator was describing was in fact true, or if everything was a version of some truth from an unreliable narrator. I ended up finding this a rather difficult book to get through as I found myself having to go back whole passages to reread them due to having lost the trail that the author was laying, or because I had completely zoned out and stopped paying attention. Although there were brief parts of the book that really engaged me and held my attention, for the most part I found myself having a hard time focusing on the story; I had to continuously push myself to keep reading in hopes it would begin to make sense at some point in time.

Upon finishing the book, I have been left with the feeling that I would have been completely fine in going to see the movie without having ever read the book and still have left the theater feeling just as confused as I was at the end of the book. Granted this is the first book in a trilogy, so it makes sense that things would be left open-ended in order to get the reader to read the rest of the books, but I had such a hard time focusing on this book that I’m not even sure I’ll finish the series because at this point in time, I really don’t care what’s going on or what happens to the characters. As for the movie, I’ll wait for it to leave the theaters and either watch it when it plays on HBO or check out the DVD from the library.



“Geekerella” Book Review, or the Book that Filled my Geek Girl Heart with Endless Happiness.




 Author: Ashley Poston

 Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Retelling

 Publisher: Quirk Books

 Rating: ✈️ ✈️ ✈️ ✈️ ✈️ out of ✈️ ✈️ ✈️ ✈️ ✈️



Geekerella was one of those books that I initially had no intention of reading, let alone buying a copy of. It wasn’t that it didn’t sound interesting, it did, so much as I already had so many books on my never-ending to-be read list that I didn’t see the necessity in reading yet another YA fairy tale retelling. Even after one of my friends read and gushed about it and told me about how I would love it too, because I’m a fangirl of many of the fandoms that are mentioned in the book, I still wasn’t convinced that this was a book I just had to have and read.

I know what you’re thinking, what happened that changed my mind? Well, the impetus that changed my mind was getting to meet the author and hear her speak about her book. Last October, I attended a young adult discussion and book signing at the Tattered Cover Bookstore where there were four YA authors in attendance to discuss their most recent books: E. K. Johnston for That Inevitable Victorian Thing, Melanie Crowder for An Uninterrupted View of the Sky, Katherine Locke for The Girl with the Red Balloon and Ashley Poston and her book Geekerella. Listening to Ashley talk about Geekerella  and why she chose to retell the fairy tale classic Cinderella with a comic con type setting and the homage to fandom life and the fans who bleed their chosen fandom, is what finally convinced me that I would get a copy that day. Sitting there, I could tell just how much Ashley loved her book and loved writing it, and I couldn’t wait to immerse myself in this world she had created, plus it didn’t hurt that there was a dachshund on the cover.

Having finally read, and loved Geekerella, I’m sorry I didn’t give the book a chance sooner. This book spoke to my geek girl heart, both with the Cinderella retelling aspect, as well as the myriad of pop culture references (Doctor Who, Marvel, Harry Potter, Star Wars, Star Trek, so on and so forth, to name a few). As I sat reading the book, with my very own dachshund curled up next to me, I found myself feeling all of Elle’s emotions as she dealt with her horrid step mother and step sisters, the anger over the chosen casting of an actor for a character whose entire life story you know like it happened to you, and missing her father who was the one person who shared, and introduced, this amazing fandom with her.

This is a book that I know I will revisit time and again, be it that I need to get out of a reading slump, or that I just want to spend an afternoon being a geek. Geekerella is the book that I know I will continuously find myself recommending to my friends who love a good book with numerous pop culture references. Thank you to the author, for being that final push I needed to not only read, but love this book.

In honor of the fictional fandom created in this book, remember to: “Look to the Stars. Aim. Ignite.”

“The Key to Everything” Book Review

TKTE mood board 2

The Key to Everything mood board created by the author, Paula Stokes, and used with her permission.

Author: Paula Stokes

Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Rating: ✈️ ✈️ ✈️ out of ✈️ ✈️ ✈️ ✈️ ✈️

Synopsis: College senior and psychology major Oakland Fuller is one who spends her life looking for signs and believing in the ever elusive soul mate. Following a series of failed relationships, Oakland quickly comes around to idea that the reason is because of unresolved issues she has with her high school boyfriend Seth; a theory which is further encouraged by both the school counselor and a fortune-teller who both say the same thing. Convinced that the universe is telling her she needs to contact Seth in order to explore what feelings they may still have for one another, Oakland obsessively begins to try to contact Seth.

With frustration mounting over a lack of response from Seth, Oakland’s best friend Morgan swoops in and convinces Oakland to join her on a guided Thailand excursion during their upcoming winter break. Traveling to Bangkok finds the two friends meeting a handsome pair of US military soldiers who are also on vacation. Deciding that she will take her friend’s advice, after all she is single, Oakland engages in some harmless fun and sex with Tyson. What starts out as harmless no strings attached fun, slowly begins to blossom into actual romance and what Oakland admits is her best relationship ever. Unfortunately, her new budding relationship is put at risk when Oakland spots Seth at a temple in Bangkok, and Oakland once again begins to question the signs the universe is sending her way and who she’s truly meant to be with.

Thoughts: First, I have to thank the author, Paula Stokes, for the advance e-ARC copy she was so kind to provide me with of her first self published novel. From the start, I found myself on a roller coaster ride  in regards to my feelings towards Oakland. I had a hard time with the fact that Oakland was so obsessed with wanting to reconnect with Seth in main part because I wanted her to come off as being a level-headed individual given the fact that she was planning on becoming a clinical psychologist. Oakland was so focused on looking for signs to prove that she was meant to be with Seth, and so determined that what she was doing was for the best, I couldn’t help but feel that if I were looking for a therapist to help me, she would be the last person I would go to.

I almost put the book down after the first couple of chapters due in large part  because of how annoying I found Oakland to be. With that being said, I persevered as I convinced myself that Oakland would grow as a character and prove that she wasn’t the idiot I felt her to be. Oakland is one of those characters where I found myself wanting nothing more than for someone to smack some sense into. I had a hard time dealing with her treatment of Tyson, despite them agreeing that what they were doing was all in good fun and that there were no strings attached, I still believe that Tyson was a good and kind man who did not deserve to be treated the way he was. Tyson was most definitely a better person than me, I don’t think I would ever agree to help the person I was into help track down their ex so that they could potentially get back together with this ex they claimed was their soul mate.

I think really the only reason why I kept reading the book was because I liked the other characters. I loved Morgan, for Morgan not only served as the voice of reason but she was fun and the kind of friend I’d want to travel to Thailand with. The senior citizen members of the guided tour provided great foil to the larger story, as the book continued and they started to share more about themselves, they proved that one should never judge those they don’t know based solely on age and appearance for at any given time people can surprise you and prove to be both interesting and engaging people to know. Tyson pretty much epitomizes that kind of man I would like to meet and have a long-lasting relationship with. Tyson is not only attractive, but he’s kind-hearted and truly wants for those around him to be happy, even if it means he’s left alone and unhappy in the end.

I know it sounds like I didn’t enjoy the book and you’re probably wondering why I gave the rating I did. Well the thing is, overall, I did enjoy the book. The story telling was engaging and the description of Thailand and all it has to offer drew me in and made me want nothing more than to hop a flight right away in order to see the sights and eat the food myself. I further kept reading out of curiosity, I wanted to see if Oakland would really give up the chance at true love for the memory of first love, or if she would see reason and pick the man who was supposed to be nothing more than a fling. Not wanting to give anything away, I won’t say whether or not the book provided me with the ending I so desperately wanted.

Just know that it is because of the other elements of the story that I gave a middle of the road rating to this book. The Key to Everything was not my first Paula Stokes read, and it certainly won’t be the last.

“The Flight Attendant” Book Review


Author: Chris Bohjalian

Publisher: Doubleday

Publication Date: March 13, 2018

Genre: Mystery, Thriller

Rating: ✈️ ✈️ ✈️ ✈️.75 out of ✈️ ✈️ ✈️ ✈️ ✈️

Description from the book jacket:

Cassandra Bowden is no stranger to hungover mornings. She’s a binge drinker, her job with the airline making it easy to find adventure, and the occasional blackouts seem to be inevitable. She lives with them, and the accompanying self-loathing. When she awakes in a Dubai hotel room, she tries to piece the previous night back together, already counting the minutes until she has to catch her crew shuttle to the airport. She quietly slides out of bed, careful not to aggravate her already pounding head, and looks at the man she spent the night with. She sees his dark hair. His utter stillness. And blood, a slick, still wet pool on the crisp white sheets.

Afraid to call the police–she’s a single woman alone in a hotel room far from home–Cassie begins to lie. She lies as she joins the other flight attendants and pilots in the van. She lies on the way to Paris as she works the first class cabin. She lies to the FBI agents in New York who meet her at the gate. Soon it’s too late to come clean-or face the truth about what really happened back in Dubai. Could she have killed him? If not, who did?

Set amid the captivating world of those whose lives unfold at forty thousand feet, The Flight Attendant unveils a spellbinding story of memory, of the giddy pleasures of alcohol and the devastating consequences of addiction, and of murder far from home.


Earlier this year Chris Bohjalian came to Denver’s Tattered Cover Bookstore to read from and discuss his, at the time, latest novel, The Sleepwalker. During that discussion, the question that all authors are inevitably asked, “what are you currently working on?” came up. In answer to this, Chris shared that he was working on a book about a flight attendant who wakes up next to a dead body in a hotel room in Dubai. I couldn’t help but squeal when I hear this, turns out my squeal was quite loud as it caught Chris’s attention and I went on to share that I was excited because I am a flight attendant. This exchange resulted in not only email correspondence, but also a mutual following of one another on various social media platforms.

It was thus with much anticipatory breath that I waited for Chris to finish his book and for the galley’s to be produced, for I kept my fingers crossed I would get to read a galley of the book. Needless to say, my wish came true and I received my very own galley of the book. Thank you to both Chris and Doubleday for providing me with this wonderfully suspenseful book about a character with my same job.

Now for my thoughts on this book, both from a reader and a flight attendant’s perspective. As a reader, I found the book to be engaging right from the start as the reader is introduced to the main character, Cassie, and the body of the man she spent the night with lying next to her in bed. From those opening pages, I found that at no point did the story lag or lose my interest. I wanted nothing more than to keep reading, to see what would happen to Cassie and if her need for alcohol would be her inevitable downfall.

As much as I wanted to see what would happen to Cassie next, what she would say and do, I also feared what actions and decisions she would make. Cassie is perhaps one of the most complex characters I’ve read this year. At her heart she is a good person, but her drunkenness leads to such horrible decisions that I couldn’t help but want to reach into the pages and try to shake some sense into her as I feared both for her life and her career. Not wanting to give anything away, I will say that the climax of the book is like that final steep climb to the top of the tallest roller coaster and upon reaching its crest, you’ll find yourself wanting to throw your hands in the air and scream with the excitement of it all as it makes its final drop.

You’re probably asking yourself, if I loved the book so much, why the 4.75 airplane rating instead of a full 5 airplane rating? Well, this is where the flight attendant part of me responds to the book. Chris did a wonderful job in crafting and delivering this story, but there were some things about airlines and being a flight attendant that he got wrong. Although these few areas are ones that I know readers with no personal relationship to the airline industry (either work for an airline themselves or have a close relative who works for the industry) will pick up on these discrepancies, I unfortunately picked up on them immediately.

Despite this quarter point deduction, I still recommend this book and will even say that it’s my favorite of Chris’s books to date. This book is one that fans of Chris Bohjalian will not want to miss. It’s also great for readers who enjoy a good mystery packed with nonstop suspicion and thrills. For those who are going on vacation, whether it be to a beach or not, this is a great book to join you on your travels.

“Final Girls” Book Review


Author: Riley Sager

Publisher: Dutton

Genre: Horror, Mystery, Thriller

Rating: 🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸 out of 🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸


It’s been ten years since Quincy Carpenter found herself the sole survivor of a horrific mass murder at Pine Cottage, which left her five college friends dead at the hands of a knife wielding madman. Having blocked out the events of that night, Quincy finds herself a member of the one club that no one wants to have to belong to, that of the Final Girls as dubbed by the media. Other survivors include, Lisa, who lost nine of her sorority sisters one night the knife wielding college dropout; and Sam, who survived an attack from the Sack Man while on duty at the Nightlight Inn.

Each woman has worked to put the events that forever changed their lives behind them by trying to move on with their lives as much as possible, despite the media’s attempts at disrupting their lives further. Quincy has worked hard to move on with help from her Xanax prescription, her baking blog, her caring boyfriend Jeff, and the constant reassurance of Coop, the cop who saved Quincy’s life all those years ago. For Quincy, she truly has moved on as the events of that night at Pine Cottage were so terrifying that she has completely blocked everything and suffers from total memory loss.

It’s after the first of the Final Girls, Lisa, is found dead in her bathtub with slit wrists, and the second Final Girl, Sam, shows up on Quincy’s doorstep, that she finally finds herself having to revisit the events of that night once and for all. Quincy finds herself in a race to learn the truth about Sam and why she’s there, evade the police and reporters, and to remember once and for all what truly happened that night at Pine Cottage if she has any hope of ensuring that she remain a survivor and Final Girl.


I am an avowed life long horror movie fan and it is because of my love of this genre, especially the slasher movies of my childhood and youth (Halloween, A Nightmare on Elm Street, and Scream to name a few), that I knew I had to read this book after reading the synopsis. I made a point to reserve the book at my library before it was even released, in order to ensure that I would be one of the first ones to read it, that’s how excited for this book I was. I am happy to say that this book did not disappoint as it pulled me in right from the start and held my interest up to the very end.

I found the author’s writing style to be not only engaging, but vividly described. I was able to picture everything as though I were watching it unfold before me on TV. It was because of this wonderful storytelling, that I felt more and more like I was reading the story of my new favorite slasher movie. In fact, this book made think so much of those classic slasher flicks, that I finished the book wanting nothing more than to have a horror movie marathon.

Something I appreciated about how Final Girls was told, was that the reader was told not only what each of the women went through and how they survived, but it also showed what happened to them years after their respective attacks. This is something that few movies do, usually they end with the main character surviving the attack and being surrounded by emergency personnel as they clean up the scene. I liked getting to see how each of the women responded to what happened to them. From Lisa who went on to help other women who had survived violence against them, Sam who went off the grid, and how Lisa resorted to prescription drugs to cope.

One of the things I loved most about this book, aside from learning about the three women and their stories of survival, were all the red herrings that were dropped throughout the book. Just when I thought I knew where the story was heading and what actually happened to Quincy at Pine Cottage, something would be presented that completely changed my supposition and proved that I was wrong in my thinking. At no point was I able to figure out where the story was going and I greatly appreciated that, as too often I find that I can figure out the plot and ending long before its revealed. It was indeed a joy to have been surprised by the ending and I couldn’t be more satisfied with how everything was wrapped up.

I don’t want to give away too much about the plot or how things turn out, so I’ll just say that if you are a fan of horror movies, teen slasher movies and a good thriller that keeps you guessing up to the very end, then definitely read Final Girls. Now if you will excuse me, I think it’s time I re-watch some of my favorite slasher flicks and the strong women who survive them to the end.

“Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda” Book Review

Author: Becky Albertalli

Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Type: Young Adult, LGBT, Romance

Rating: 🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸 out of  🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸


Simon Spier is a sixteen-year-old junior with a secret from his friends and family, he’s gay. The only person with whom Simon has been able to share this secret with, is a fellow student he exchanges emails with. Before Simon knows it though, Simon’s email fall into the hands of another student who uses them to blackmail Simon into helping set him up with one of Simon’s friends. Simon finds himself faced with the choice of either helping his blackmailer, Martin; or refuse to do so and have his secret laid bare for the entire school. Even worse, Simon fears that if his pen pal, Blue, who is also not out in the open, finds out about Simon’s carelessness that he’ll lose the boy he’s falling for forever.


Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda is one of those books that’s I’ve seen in bookstores, but I had no idea what it was about. It wasn’t until I came across a tweet from Penguin Platform about the books they were going to be discussing for their #PrideBookClub that I finally got around to reading the description and decided to check it out from the library.

I loved this book, so much so that I read this book in one sitting. This was such an enjoyable book to read in large because of Simon. I found Simon to be a highly realistic character. He does his best, but he messes up sometimes and has to learn from those mistakes and keep moving forward. It was nice to follow Simon’s growth throughout the book and get to see him become more comfortable with who he is and opening up to his friends and family as a result of his conversations with Blue and Blue’s courage in coming out to each of his divorced parents.

The romance between Simon and Blue was so sweet and gave me butterflies as it reminded me of what it’s like to have a crush. I really enjoyed following the progression of their relationship: from two students operating under assumed names looking to discuss their sexuality, to a friendship that evolved into deeper feelings for one another. When Simon and Blue finally meet in person, I couldn’t help but release a huge sigh of contentment as I was so deeply happy for each of them as they had each overcome varying obstacles to find themselves and one another.

Reading this book, I couldn’t help but think back to when I was in high school and two of my friends came out to me. Each of these friends chose to inform me prior to informing the rest of our group of friends. I remember when I asked them why they chose me over other friends of ours they were closer to, they each said because they knew I loved them and accepted them for who they are and wouldn’t judge them. Much like Simon, it took a lot of courage for my friends to come out to me and our other friends. What Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda did for me was to remind me of these occasions from my teen years, when homosexuality wasn’t discussed the way it is now, and how important it is to have those friends you trust and know will love and accept you no matter what.

I’m so glad that I stumbled across Penguin Platform’s #PrideBookClub and finally read this book. It’s the kind of book that I will gladly recommend to fellow readers and that I would assign as part of a summer reading list if I were and English teacher. If you’re interested in learning more about what other books Penguin Platform has chosen for their book club, be sure to check them out @penguinplatform. They will be discussing this book and others through the end of August.


“The Hate U Give” Book Review

“Sometimes you can do everything right and things will still go wrong. The key is to never stop doing right.” The Hate U Give

Author: Angie Thomas

Publisher: Balzar and Bray

Type: Young Adult

Rating: 🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸 out of 🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸


Starr Carter is sixteen and trying to navigate two different worlds. In one she comes from a poor black neighborhood where gangs rule the street and people are afraid to speak out against them. In the other world, Starr is a student at a predominately white prep school in the suburbs. As Starr walks the line of these two worlds, that line becomes blurred when Starr witnesses the shooting of one of her childhood best friends, Khalil, at the hands of a police officer. The catch though, Khalil is unarmed.

Struck with fear of speaking about what really happen out of fear about police retaliation against her family, as well as fear of what her friends at school will say if they find out, Starr has to work to not only overcome the horror of that night but to also find her voice if she hopes for any kind of justice to be brought about. As racism starts to rear its ugly head at school, Starr’s neighborhood goes from protests to full on riots in a matter of moments.


I will be the first to admit that I did not have anywhere near the same kind of upbringing as Starr. Where Starr comes from a poor black neighborhood and her father is a former convict; my father was an officer in the US Air Force and we were considered upper middle class. Despite these differences in our upbringing, I could relate to Starr in other ways. As an African-American young woman, I was able to empathize with Starr when she was questioned about having a white boyfriend and if it was because she thought she was too good for the black guys. I know what it’s like to get looks from those around me when I’m seen holding hands with a white boyfriend. I know how it feels to have other African-Americans try to put you down for wanting to get good grades, go on to college and succeed in life.

Angie Thomas’s debut novel is a timely and poignant novel that takes a close look at what its like to witness a police shooting and feeling powerless and afraid to do anything. The day I finished reading this was the same day that the jury decided to acquit the police officer of all charges in the shooting and death of Philando Castile. I’m sad and sorry to say that I was not at all surprised that the jury chose not to convict the police officer. As is discussed in the book, it seems like anymore, anytime a black man is shot and killed by a police officer, that they’re not going to be charged. That’s a horrible thing to think and believe, but that continues to be the case.

Just as Starr believes that one day things will get better, I too believe that. But, it’s going to take hard work and diligence. It’s going to take continuing the dialogue and working together to find solutions. The Hate U Give serves as a wonderful way to open up that dialogue. It’s the kind of book that can bring wonderful discussions to mixed race book clubs and even to high school and college English and literature classes.