Graphic Novel Review: Monstress, Vol. 1

Monstress, Vol. 1: Awakening 
by Marjorie M. Liu (Writer), Sana Takeda (Artist), Rus Wooton (Letterer, Designer)

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Source: Netgalley, Diamond Comic Distributors, Library (Expired galley)

Synopsis: Set in an alternate matriarchal 1900’s Asia, in a richly imagined world of art deco-inflected steampunk, MONSTRESS tells the story of a teenage girl who is struggling to survive the trauma of war, and who shares a mysterious psychic link with a monster of tremendous power, a connection that will transform them both and make them the target of both human and otherworldly powers.

My Review:

5 of 5 Stars

After reading this I regret having put it off for so long. One of the first things that stood out to me was the level of detail put into the artwork. I’ve found that a lot of graphic novels don’t feature a lot of intricate patterns, I assume because it can get cluttered quickly. Instead of feeling overwhelming the level of small and even intricate details meshed together to create an overall look. From an artistic perspective, I found myself wanting to stop reading to draw on numerous occasions. I was especially interested in the cross-hatched shading frequently used in the background.

As much as I found myself admiring the illustrations the story was equally fascinating. I found myself getting attached to characters quickly, even those I’d only seen briefly. Cass is the main character and while she’s incredible, my favorite was Kipp. I loved how both were portrayed both in the story and visually. The story itself is full of action and has a fairly quick pace. Like most graphic novels I’ve read it sort of dumped me into the middle of a world that I had to get used to fairly quickly. I didn’t feel lost for long however as many things are explained as the plot progresses.

Overall, I highly recommend this graphic novel even if you are only curious about the artwork. I know I’m going to be taking quite a bit of inspiration from some specific scenes as I explore my own creativity. That said, if you aren’t interested in being inspired artistically it’s still worth admiring both for art and a wonderful story. I’m looking forward to reading more as the rest of this series is released. Volume 2 is due to be released on July 6th according to GoodReads.

Review: The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

The Secret Life of Bees
by Sue Monk Kidd

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Source: Borrowed from Friend

Synopsis:

Set in South Carolina in 1964, The Secret Life of Bees tells the story of Lily Owens, whose life has been shaped around the blurred memory of the afternoon her mother was killed. When Lily’s fierce-hearted black “stand-in mother,” Rosaleen, insults three of the deepest racists in town, Lily decides to spring them both free. They escape to Tiburon, South Carolina–a town that holds the secret to her mother’s past. Taken in by an eccentric trio of black beekeeping sisters, Lily is introduced to their mesmerizing world of bees and honey, and the Black Madonna. This is a remarkable novel about divine female power, a story women will share and pass on to their daughters for years to come.

My Review:

4 of 5 Stars

I was confused by this story for a while, I didn’t really understand where to focus. Quite a few different issues are touched on through the book including racism, child abuse, and neglect, segregation, and more. My heart went out to Lily, the main character, but all too often she frustrated me. Her behavior is frequently impulsive and reactionary based on how she’s feeling in the moment. I understood this but desperately wanted to see her do better somehow in spite of her circumstances. Rosaleen was someone I never really knew how to feel about. She’s such a strong woman but it’s always obvious that she’s been through a lot in life. In some ways, I wish she’d been more of a prominent character, that we could see things through her eyes. All the narration is done through Lily’s eyes and while this gave a very specific viewpoint it also brought out into the open some harmful assumptions. This was the most apparent after the incident involving Rosaleen and the three men in town. In some ways, I did want her to just apologize, much like Lily. I couldn’t help wonder though at what cost to her dignity and self-worth those words would have come.

Speed wise, this was a slower story that I was able to sink into. I’m used to reading faster-paced action but was able to enjoy this just as much but for different reasons. This would be perfect for a book group and even has discussion questions at the back to spark plenty of conversation. Fans of contemporary fiction who are wanting to dip their toes into more historical fiction should take a look at this book. I’m looking forward to watching the movie to see how the two compare.

You Are Here: An Owner’s Manual for Dangerous Minds by Jenny Lawson

You Are Here: An Owner’s Manual for Dangerous Minds
by Jenny Lawson

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(On sale on Amazon!)

Source: Purchase

Synopsis: 

When Jenny Lawson is anxious, one of the things she does is to draw. Elaborate doodles, beautiful illustrations, often with captions that she posts online. At her signings, fans show up with printouts of these drawings for Jenny to autograph. And inevitably they ask her when will she publish a whole book of them. That moment has arrived.

You Are Here is something only Jenny could create. A combination of inspiration, therapy, coloring, humor, and advice, this book is filled with Jenny’s amazingly intricate illustrations, all on perforated pages that can be easily torn out, hung up, and shared. Drawing on the tenets of art therapy—which you can do while hiding in the pillow fort under your bed—You Are Here is ready to be made entirely your own.

Some of the material is dark, some is light; some is silly and profane and irreverent. Gathered together, this is life, happening right now, all around, in its messy glory, as only Jenny Lawson could show us.

My Review:

5+ of 5 Stars

I preordered this book over a month ago and have been looking forward to its release for even longer. I’ve read both of Jenny Lawson’s previous books and adored them. I’ve struggled with a number of mental health issues for most, if not all, of my and I found myself connecting with her stories on a very deep level. I’m also a huge fan of coloring books so I had some high expectations going in. Right now I’m in the perfect place in life to get a lot out of this book. I’ve recently started more intense therapy which is good but also really difficult. I can easily see myself keeping this book within arms reach to open up and give myself reminders.

What I appreciated the most was how this book was made up of one-page anecdotes rather than a continuous story or even chapter-long essays. When I’m having really bad anxiety it’s often nice to be able to pick up something small or tiny to hold onto. I remember having extreme anxiety and even panic attacks as early as preschool age, the above quote has been extremely true to my life. While the book mentions things like this I think the overall message is of hope but in a humorous way. I’ve grown very tired of cliche self-help books that are overly bright and cheerful. I find that I gravitate toward books that balance inspiration and strength with raw grit, and I found that in this book.

 I don’t know if I’ll color in my copy but I am thinking about it. The book is more than well made for colored pencils though I’m not sure about markers as the pages are printed on both sides. The paper is thick and amazing, perfect for a coloring book, or repeated reading through any of life’s storms. I also found it interesting that all of the pages in the book are perforated so you can easily remove them to put up a wall as art or even insert into a journal or planner. Overall, another amazing title from Jenny Lawson that I highly recommend!

Review: Lies We Believe About God by Wm. Paul Young

lies-we-believe-about-godLies We Believe About God
by Wm. Paul Young

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Source: ARC – Netgalley, Atria Books

Synopsis:

From the author of the twenty million plus copy bestselling novel The Shack and the New York Times bestsellers Cross Roads and Eve comes a compelling, conversational exploration of the wrong-headed ideas we sometimes have and share about God.

Wm. Paul Young has been called a heretic for the ways he vividly portrays God’s love through his novels. Here he shares twenty-eight commonly uttered and sometimes seemingly innocuous things we say about God. Paul exposes these as lies that keep us from having a full, loving relationship with our Creator.

With personal anecdotes and sharing the compassion readers felt from the “Papa” portrayed in The Shack—soon to be a major film starring Octavia Spencer, Sam Worthington and Tim McGraw—Paul encourages readers to think anew about important issues including sin, religion, hell, politics, identity, creation, human rights, and helping us discover God’s deep and abiding love.

My Review:

5+ of 5 Stars

I have so many feelings and thoughts about this book that it’s hard to organize them all to write an understandable review. When I finished reading this my first impulse was to find someone, anyone who knows the bible better than I do to discuss the ideas with. Days after reading this, I still have that urge to pick apart each chapter’s theme – and I most likely will at some point in the future. What I enjoyed most about this book was how it made me think about my faith in an entirely new way. I openly admit that my faith isn’t as strong as I’d like it to be. I’ve dealt with the negative side of the Christian church numerous times which in may ways has made my current walk harder.

Another point for this book was how accessible it was, even for someone who isn’t well versed in scripture. A lot of Christian nonfiction that I’ve read has gone over my head because it heavily references concepts that I just don’t understand. In this book, each chapter is devoted to a different lie that is commonly believed or practiced in the church as a whole. What I appreciated was how the author was able to take these themes and bring out examples in his own life as well as easily understood support directly from the bible. I never felt like I was trying to decode anything, it felt simple yet profound.

For me, my favorite takeaway from the whole book that I keep thinking about even days after reading is how God loves me because I am loveable. This confused me at first because frequently I’ve heard some semblance of the message that “God loves us because HE is loving.” While I do believe in a loving God, for me it’s incredibly moving to think that it’s not just because God is good that he loves me, but because I am good and worth loving. Through the book I had moments like this numerous times when I had to sit back and ponder how looking at something slightly differently could change my relationship with God entirely.

Needless to say, I highly recommend this book. Even those who aren’t Christian but interested in faith might be able to get something out of this book. I’m looking forward to reading the book again in the future and really examining each chapter in depth.

Review: Close Enough to Touch by Colleen Oakley

close-enough-to-touchClose Enough to Touch
by Colleen Oakley

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Source: ARC – Netgalley, Gallery Books

Synopsis:

One time a boy kissed me and I almost died…

And so begins the story of Jubilee Jenkins, a young woman with a rare and debilitating medical condition: she’s allergic to other humans. After a humiliating near-death experience in high school, Jubilee has become a recluse, living the past nine years in the confines of the small town New Jersey house her unaffectionate mother left to her when she ran off with a Long Island businessman. But now, her mother is dead, and without her financial support, Jubilee is forced to leave home and face the world—and the people in it—that she’s been hiding from.

One of those people is Eric Keegan, a man who just moved into town for work. With a daughter from his failed marriage who is no longer speaking to him, and a brilliant, if psychologically troubled, adopted son, Eric’s struggling to figure out how his life got so off-course, and how to be the dad—and man—he wants so desperately to be. Then, one day, he meets a mysterious woman named Jubilee, with a unique condition…

My Review:

2.5 of 5 Stars

I really wanted to like this book, much more than I did. The premise is fascinating and though I’m not usually drawn to romance, this intrigued me. I’m always on the search for new themes in the romantic genre that I can latch onto. Sadly, this wasn’t my cup of tea for a number of reasons.

  • Characters

Jubilee drove me absolutely crazy through the entire book. I wanted to shake, lecture, and just generally shove her out of her own head. In many ways, I understood why she acted the way she did, and even could sometimes relate to her reactions to others. That said, the repetition of it was frustrating. I wanted more growth from her through the entire story but instead, it seemed to happen almost entirely toward the end. Eric didn’t bother me as much as Jubilee but he was still annoying in numerous ways. A lot of the story revolving around him felt drawn out, details given in tiny crumbs which made plot progress slow. My favorite character was Aja, Eric’s adopted son. I think I would have found a story revolving around him far more interesting.

  • Romance

Admittedly, I’m not a huge fan of romance in general though I can get into some. I was hoping, with fingers crossed, that this would be one of those romances that I could get behind. I knew it would have a few cliches, and it did. Eric and Jubilee experience ‘insta-love’ but because of Jubilee’s condition, it’s in slow motion. I wished over and over again that the two of them could just talk to each other like adults instead of the mind games that ensued. I didn’t mind this that much, though, I actually enjoyed the romance right up until the end. The tension and up and down roller coaster kept the book enjoyable even when I was super frustrated with the characters.

  • The End

This is the biggest reason I’m rating this book the way I am. I really disliked the way the story was wrapped up. First, it didn’t show a lot of emotional growth in Jubilee which I found frustrating. It hinted that she was ‘better’ but she was still making choices that reflected a low self-esteem. I especially didn’t like the turn the romantic aspect of the story took, it just didn’t make sense to me at all.

While there were many aspects of this novel I didn’t like, I appreciated the exceptional portrayal of mental illness in this book. Jubilee struggles with depression, anxiety, and agoraphobia – all of which are caused by her chronic illness and the way it dominoes in her life. Even though this wasn’t for me, I still recommend this book to others. Fans of romance will probably enjoy this book, especially if you think you can look past some of the things that bothered me.

Review | In a Different Key: The Story of Autism by John Donvan, Caren Zucker

in-a-different-keyIn a Different Key: The Story of Autism
by John Donvan, Caren Zucker

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Source: Blogging for Books, Broadway Books

Synopsis:

Nearly seventy-five years ago, Donald Triplett of Forest, Mississippi, became the first child diagnosed with autism. Beginning with his family’s odyssey, In a Different Key tells the extraordinary story of this often misunderstood condition, and of the civil rights battles waged by the families of those who have it. Unfolding over decades, it is a beautifully rendered history of ordinary people determined to secure a place in the world for those with autism—by liberating children from dank institutions, campaigning for their right to go to school, challenging expert opinion on what it means to have autism, and persuading society to accept those who are different.

It is the story of women like Ruth Sullivan, who rebelled against a medical establishment that blamed cold and rejecting “refrigerator mothers” for causing autism; and of fathers who pushed scientists to dig harder for treatments. Many others played starring roles too: doctors like Leo Kanner, who pioneered our understanding of autism; lawyers like Tom Gilhool, who took the families’ battle for education to the courtroom; scientists who sparred over how to treat autism; and those with autism, like Temple Grandin, Alex Plank, and Ari Ne’eman, who explained their inner worlds and championed the philosophy of neurodiversity.

This is also a story of fierce controversies—from the question of whether there is truly an autism “epidemic,” and whether vaccines played a part in it; to scandals involving “facilitated communication,” one of many treatments that have proved to be blind alleys; to stark disagreements about whether scientists should pursue a cure for autism. There are dark turns too: we learn about experimenters feeding LSD to children with autism, or shocking them with electricity to change their behavior; and the authors reveal compelling evidence that Hans Asperger, discoverer of the syndrome named after him, participated in the Nazi program that consigned disabled children to death.

By turns intimate and panoramic, In a Different Key takes us on a journey from an era when families were shamed and children were condemned to institutions to one in which a cadre of people with autism push not simply for inclusion, but for a new understanding of autism: as a difference rather than disability.

My Review:

5 of 5 Stars

I’ve been curious about autism for many years and thought I knew at least a decent amount about the history of it, this book taught me otherwise. While I knew a little about the Eugenics movement prior to reading this, this opened my eyes to the impact it had on autism specifically. I felt my heart going out to the many women who were blamed entirely and referred to as ‘refrigerator mothers’. While heart-wrenching and sometimes horrifying, I appreciated the look into how autistic children and adults used to be treated. I was also overjoyed as new techniques and solutions were learned, giving these individuals new possibilities.

I’ve been trying to read more and more non-fiction but I admit this book intimidated me at over 500 pages even without the notes and bibliography toward the back of the book. Unlike with my usual fiction books, I found myself reading this much more slowly and in chunks along with my regular reading. While a lot of nonfiction I’ve read in the past for school has been very clinical I really appreciated the warmth I found in this book. Instead of just a dry history, it focuses more on the individual people who played major roles in either autism advocacy, research, or treatment. I especially loved the stories sprinkled throughout about specific families struggling with autistic children and how to best care for them. I did wish on occasion for more perspective directly from autistic individuals along with their families.

As much as I appreciated this book and am glad that I read it, I know it’s not something that everyone would be interested in. If you have anyone in your family who happens to be on the autism spectrum, I highly recommend this book. I’d also suggest it even if you are only curious and wanting to learn more because it’s both incredibly engaging and informative. After reading this I’m even more curious to continue learning more and am looking forward to picking up a few of the books that were mentioned in this one.

 

Graphic Novel Review: Lady Mechanika Vol. 1 & 2

lady-mechanika-1 lady-mechanika-2

Lady Mechanika, Vol.1: the Mystery of Mechanical Corpse

Lady Mechanika Vol. 2: The Tablet of Destinies

Volume 1: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N

Volume 2: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N

Synopsis for Volume 1:

After a young friend shows up unexpectedly on her doorstep, Lady Mechanika immediately drops everything to come to her aid. They embark on a globe-spanning trek filled with ancient artifacts, secret societies, and scientific curiosities, but Lady Mechanika is eventually confronted with an impossible decision: the life of her friend, or the fate of all humankind.

This volume collects the entire second Lady Mechanika mini-series The Tablet of Destinies (originally published as Lady Mechanika: The Tablet of Destinies #1-6), plus a gorgeous cover art gallery.

Story by M. M. Chen. Pencils by Joe Benitez & Martin Montiel. Colors by Mike Garcia.

My Review:

4.5 of 5 Stars

Let’s talk Artwork

What drew me first to these graphic novels was the steampunk styled art. I glanced at some of the covers from the various chapters on GoodReads and was instantly wanting to read more. Sometimes when I have a lot of anticipation with something it’s easy to get disappointed but that wasn’t the case at all here.

  • Both of these volumes were done entirely in rich and vibrant color.
  • Each character had a very defined look which helped them feel more real.
  • The amount of detail in the scenes was a perfect balance. It never felt too busy or too simplistic. This was especially true for the airships which were stunning.

Let’s talk Plot and Character

One of my biggest issues with a lot of graphic novels surrounds the plot. All too often they just don’t feel as immersive or deep as a regular novel. This series shocked me with the level plot and multiple storylines that are constantly taking place, without being confusing.

  • Lady Mechanica is the star of the show and for good reason. She’s a magnificent strong female lead that can seriously kick ass.
  • Support characters are equally strong and interesting. I really liked Mr. Lewis in the first volume.
  • It’s easy to root for the good guys but I was equally interested in the other side. Cain from the first volume was mysterious and I am wondering if he will show up again in the future.
  • Not many graphic novels have kept me on the edge of my seat with suspense, but this one did. I was completely immersed into the story and felt like I was on an adventure while reading.

What I Thought Overall

I absolutely adored these graphic novels. My favorite part was the artwork – I loved the style and color. I’m still trying to decide if I disliked the idealistic character portrayals. Especially with the women, it seemed like they were very sexualized and while I loved the look of it artistically it left me feeling a little off. Lady Mechanica is built pretty perfectly being tall and slender but somehow with ample curves that seem very natural. It’s not too big of a problem but I would like to see more body types in future chapters. In summary, I’m really glad I went for these graphic novels and I highly recommend them to anyone who is a fan of steampunk or action. Artists will also be sure to enjoy this series.

Thank you to Diamond Comic Distributors and NetGalley for providing me with a free galley of both of these graphic novels in exchange for my honest review.

 

Review: Future Threat by Elizabeth Briggs

future-threatFuture Threat (Future Shock #2)
by Elizabeth Briggs

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Source: ARC, Netgalley, Albert Whitman & Company 

Synopsis:

Six months ago Aether Corporation sent Elena, Adam, and three other recruits on a trip to the future where they brought back secret information–but not everyone made it back to the present alive. Now Elena’s dealing with her survivor’s guilt and trying to make her relationship with Adam work. All she knows for sure is that she’s done with time travel and Aether Corporation.

But Aether’s not done with her–or Adam, or fellow survivor Chris. The travelers on Aether’s latest mission to the future have gone missing, and Elena and her friends are drafted into the rescue effort. They arrive in a future that’s amazingly advanced, thanks to Aether Corporation’s reverse-engineered technology. The mission has deadly consequences, though, and they return to the future to try to alter the course of events.

But the future is different yet again. Now every trip through time reveals new complications, and more lives lost–or never born. Elena and Adam must risk everything–including their relationship–to save their friends.

My Review:

3 of 5 Stars

After reading this first book in this series (you can see my review here) I was curious to see where it would go. I was hoping to like this one in a similar way to Future Shock but was disappointed in quite a few ways. My biggest issue with this book was Elena and many of her choices. I found myself getting really frustrated with her, far more than I had in the previous book, especially in the way she treated Adam. I appreciated that the amount of trauma she’d been through already was taken into account and portrayed through PTSD. Her symptoms were understandable and believable but in the end felt a little too neatly wrapped up.

I was also disappointed that the romance took such a front seat in this book. It had been present in the first book but never felt like it took over completely. I wanted to get to know the other characters more but they often felt left in the shadows while the story focused in on tensions between Adam and Elena. I admit though that this probably wouldn’t frustrate fans of the romance genre as much as it did me.

As much as this book frustrated me I’m still really curious as to where the next book will take Elena. Unlike many series, this second book had a fairly wrapped up ending which made me wonder if it was a duology rather than an ongoing story. Even though this wasn’t my favorite I still enjoyed it as a light read and know that others will enjoy it more than I did. Any fans of romance wanting to venture into science fiction will be the best group for this series.

Review: No More Faking Fine: Ending the Pretending by Esther Fleece

no-more-faking-fineNo More Faking Fine: Ending the Pretending
by Esther Fleece

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Source: BookLook Bloggers, HarperCollins Publishers

Synopsis:

If you’ve ever been given empty clichés during challenging times, you know how painful it can feel to be misunderstood by well-meaning people. Far too often, it seems the response we get to our hurt and disappointment is to suck it up, or pray it away.

But Scripture reveals a God who meets us where we are, not where we pretend to be.

No More Faking Fine is your invitation to get gut-level honest with God through the life-giving language of lament. Lament, a practice woven throughout Scripture, is a prayer that God never ignores, never silences, and never wastes. As author Esther Fleece says, “Lament is the unexpected pathway to true intimacy with God, and with those around us.”

Esther learned this the hard way, by believing she could shut down painful emotions that haunted her from a broken past she tried to forget on her fast track to success. But in silencing her pain, she robbed herself of the opportunity to be healed. Maybe you’ve done the same.

No More Faking Fine is your permission to lament—to give voice to the hurt, frustration, and disappointment you’ve kept inside and silenced for too long. Drawing from careful biblical study and hard-won insight, Esther reveals how to use God’s own language to draw closer to Him as He leads us through any darkness into His marvelous light.

My Review:

5+ of 5 Stars

The only way I can explain how much I appreciated this book is by declaring that it has a permanent place on my bookshelf. It’s also on my very short list of books that I will reread, probably multiple times. First, I picked this book because I’ve been actively trying to read more nonfiction, specifically more Christian nonfiction. I want to explore my faith more and books like this really help in that regard.

Perhaps the biggest reason I appreciated this book is that it’s reaching me in a time in my life when I really need it. I’m going through some intense therapy and starting to push myself a lot more into recovery. In my experience, the church, in general, can get heavily wrapped up in happiness, joy, and ‘everlasting peace’. I find that I latch onto books and concepts like this one that declare that it’s okay to be not okay. Sometimes I forget in my own faith that I can bring all of my emotions to the table and not just the positive ones. Through the book my heart went out to the author as she shared her own experiences. They differ from mine but the emotions and thoughts that went behind them were easily relatable. While some books of this style often are more memoir in style I found that this book was an encouraging balance of back story and biblical teaching. I was able to pull specific passages from the bible that related directly to her story which in turn I was able to relate to my own.

I admit this book has a fairly specific target audience, Christians who are hurting or grieving in some way. I’m involved in Celebrate Recovery which is a nationwide Christ-centered ministry inspired by twelve step groups so I’m surrounded by this audience quite often. While this is the group that the book would directly help the most I think most Christians would get a lot out of this book even if it’s just ways to encourage others who are going through difficult times.

Review: Future Shock by Elizabeth Briggs

future-shockFuture Shock (Future Shock #1)
by Elizabeth Briggs

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N

Source: Library

Synopsis:

What do you do when the future is too late, and the present is counting down to an inevitable moment?

Elena Martinez has street smarts, the ability for perfect recall, and a deadline: if she doesn’t find a job before she turns eighteen, she’ll be homeless. But then she gets an unexpected offer from Aether Corporation, the powerful Los Angeles tech giant. Along with four other recruits—Adam, Chris, Trent, and Zoe—Elena is being sent on a secret mission to bring back data from the future. All they have to do is get Aether the information they need, and the five of them will be set for life. It’s an offer Elena can’t refuse.

But something goes wrong when the time travelers arrive in the future. And they are forced to break the only rule they were given—not to look into their own fates. Now they have twenty-four hours to get back to the present and find a way to stop a seemingly inevitable future—and a murder—from happening. But changing the timeline has deadly consequences too. Who can Elena trust as she fights to save her life?

The first book in an unforgettable series about rewriting your destiny in the city of dreams.

My Review:

3.5 of 5 Stars

The four books I’d read previous to this title had all been emotional and thought provoking which left me in the perfect mood for something lighter. Time travel remains to be one of my favorite subgenre’s in science fiction so I was excited to dive into this series. I enjoyed this book as something light, but if I hadn’t been in such an optimal mood for it probably would have liked it less. Elena is a sort of strong female lead character but often her low

Elena is a sort of strong female lead character which I appreciated. However, this is weakened often with how her low self-confidence and wounds from her past cause her to self-sabotage. I can understand this, she’s been through quite an ordeal in life so it makes sense that she would have a lot of issues. That said, I felt myself getting frustrated with her on numerous occasions, especially in regards to Adam. I both liked and felt annoyed by his character portrayal. I wanted more depth in his character and to know more about his history to explain his behavior. I was confused by his choices, especially some toward the end. As for the other characters, we don’t get to know them that well. More depth in these characters would have given the ending more punch.

Overall, I enjoyed this read but I’m wondering if that was more because I was in the right mood for some ‘reading junk food’. The story does attempt to touch on some deeper issues like the foster care system as well as diversity. I appreciated that the characters weren’t all white and straight – Elena is Hispanic, Chris is African-American, and Zoe is bisexual. I wasn’t too bothered by the romance that took place either though I did find it a bit cliche. If you are in need of a lighter read or just love anything time travel related, I do recommend giving this series a shot.