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Book Review: Outlawed by Anna North

Book Review: Outlawed by Anna North


Outlawed by Anna North
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Outlawed is an alternate history in which a Great Flu wiped out 9/10ths of the U.S. population, the country fell apart, and now a woman who can’t pop out babies to rebuild that population is branded a witch and hanged. As a barren woman myself, this premise hit incredibly close to home for me. I loved seeing how all of these women dealt with such superstition and blatant inequality.

“People cry witchcraft whenever they don’t understand something.”

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Book Review: Why She Wrote by Hannah K. Chapman and Lauren Burke, Illustrated by Kaley Bales

Book Review: Why She Wrote by Hannah K. Chapman and Lauren Burke, Illustrated by Kaley Bales


Why She Wrote: A Graphic History of the Lives, Inspiration, and Influence Behind the Pens of Classic Women Writers by Lauren Burke
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher, Chronicle Books, via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Why She Wrote is not a book I would have stumbled upon without NetGalley, and I would have been missing out. This collection of graphic biographies takes 18 women who wrote and, in sets of three, seeks to illuminate their lives and motivations just the tiniest bit. I really like the way this is presented. Each author gets a page-long bio, followed by a short comic answering the titular question of why she wrote, and finished off with a list of published works and important facts. It reminded me of Rejected Princesses, though I can see where it would have even more in common with Monster, She Wrote, which I have yet to read.

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Book Review: Beyond the Point by Claire Gibson

Book Review: Beyond the Point by Claire Gibson


Beyond the Point by Claire Gibson
My rating: 6 of 5 stars

I’m not sure I can even express how wildly Beyond the Point surpassed my expectations, but I’m sure going to try. I’ve always had a lot of respect for our military, and for the people who sacrifice their time, dreams, bodies, and lives in its service. I also have a lot of empathy for the family of those who serve, as I can’t even begin to imagine how terrifying it must be to watch someone you love with your entire being fly into a war zone, and how insanely stressful it must be to wait and hope for their return. But this book has increased all of those feelings for me. Witnessing military life from the inside, from the perspectives of three girls as they graduate high school, attend West Point, and embark on their careers thereafter, made for a moving and eye-opening experience.

“Some wounds are invisible. It doesn’t mean they’re not real.”

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Book Review: The Once and Future Witches, by Alix E. Harrow

Book Review: The Once and Future Witches, by Alix E. Harrow


The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’d like to thank the publisher (Orbit/Redhook) for gifting me an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. While I deeply appreciate the gift, the giving of it had no impact on the thoughts and opinions expressed below.

One witch you can laugh at. Three you can burn. But what do you do with a hundred?

The Ten Thousand Doors of January was my favorite book of 2019. I adored Harrow’s way with and respect for words and stories. The tale was such an ode to both that it made my heart feel as though it would burst. I kept having to pause periodically and close the book and my eyes so I could just soak in the exquisite prose. I wasn’t sure Harrow could ever again pen something quite that beautiful. But while I didn’t quite connect to her second novel as deeply as I did her first, I needn’t have worried. The Once and Future Witches is just as lovingly and impeccably crafted as Harrow’s incredible debut.

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Book Review: Valentine, by Elizabeth Wetmore

Book Review: Valentine, by Elizabeth Wetmore


Valentine by Elizabeth Wetmore
My rating: 6 of 5 stars

Valentine is absolutely gorgeous. The writing is so vivid and transporting that I felt like I indwelled each character during their prospective chapters. It’s also one of the most tragic, heartbreaking stories I’ve read in a very long time. My heart almost physically ached during my time reading this book. But most of all, Valentine is immensely powerful. It proclaims an almost rebellious resilience in the face of heinous adversity that is fiercely and unequivocally feminist, and I felt impacted by it at a soul-deep level.

“Mercy is hard in a place like this…”

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Book Review: City of Girls, by Elizabeth Gilbert

Book Review: City of Girls, by Elizabeth Gilbert


City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

I don’t know why I decided to pick up City of Girls. Historical fiction isn’t one of my go-to genres. I don’t care all that much about fashion. I’ve never read anything by Elizabeth Gilbert. But something drew me to this book and I decided to give it a whirl because I was in the mood for something outside of my norm. Thankfully, I thoroughly enjoyed myself while reading it. City of Girls was definitely delivered the “something different” I was craving.

“You must learn in life to take things more lightly, my dear. The world is always changing. Learn how to allow for it.”

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Book Review: The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes

Book Review: The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes


The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

I was so hesitant to pick up this book. I’ve only read one other book by Moyes, Me Before You, and was absolutely infuriated by it. Not because it was a bad book, mind you; on the contrary, it was incredibly compelling and introduced some characters for whom I came to care deeply. But I felt so emotionally manipulated by the ending that I seriously considered burning my copy. I didn’t, because I consider book burning akin to sacrilege, but in my opinion the ending that Moyes chose to go with felt like it was chosen not because it served the plot, but because it was shocking and memorable. I hated it with my entire being. I don’t believe myself to be a reader who demands happy endings, but the final scenes of Me Before You felt like a right hook when I was expecting a warm handshake or something of the sort.

“… some things are a gift, even if you don’t get to keep them.”

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Book Review: A Curious Beginning (Veronica Speedwell, #1)

Book Review: A Curious Beginning (Veronica Speedwell, #1)


A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ah, Veronica. You’re the sassiest, most self-confident female protagonist I’ve ever come across in a Victorian setting, and I loved every minute of your snark. This was indeed A Curious Beginning to your story. I’m already excited to visit with you again in the future, and to see what further adventures you stumble your way into further along in the series.

“I abhorred weakness of any kind but most particularly in my tea.”

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Book Review: Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly

Book Review: Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly


Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“I changed what I could, and what I couldn’t, I endured.”

I’m a former history teacher, and yet I still somehow didn’t realize how large a role racism and segregation played in the Cold War. When I watched the movie inspired by this book with an American History class I was temporarily teaching, my eyes were opened to just how little I knew about the Cold War and Civil Rights eras, and how the two were so deeply entwined. I’m thankful for the information; I just wish I had realized it sooner. After having read the book as well, I have a new appreciation for the story overall, but also for the title of the book. I love anything with a dual meaning, and both the math behind these amazing advancement and the women who calculated them were indeed hidden figures.

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My Familiar Stranger (Knights of Black Swan, #1)

My Familiar Stranger (Knights of Black Swan, #1)

My Familiar Stranger by Victoria Danann
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is not a book I would have ever picked up on my own. First of all, the cover just was not appealing to me. It’s a chick’s face. There is wind coming from somewhere, blowing said chick’s hair across her face. She would probably benefit from a hair tie or a headband. And that’s all there is to the cover. Bland, right? Also, it sounded like a really weird blend of commonly used tropes, such as the combination of vampire hunters and inter-dimensional travel. Furthermore, it involves one of my least favorite tropes: the dreaded love triangle, or in this case, a love square.

So, if I was so opposed to various aspects of this book, why on earth did I pick it up? Because my mom told me to.

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