Jason Rekulak, The Impossible Fortress Review

Title: The Impossible Fortress

Author: Jason Rekulak

Genre: Young Adult/ Fiction

Synopsis: The Impossible Fortress begins with a magazine…The year is 1987 and Playboy has just published scandalous photographs of Vanna White, from the popular TV game show Wheel of Fortune. For three teenage boys—Billy, Alf, and Clark—who are desperately uneducated in the ways of women, the magazine is somewhat of a Holy Grail: priceless beyond measure and impossible to attain. So, they hatch a plan to steal it.

The heist will be fraught with peril: a locked building, intrepid police officers, rusty fire escapes, leaps across rooftops, electronic alarm systems, and a hyperactive Shih Tzu named Arnold Schwarzenegger. Failed attempt after failed attempt leads them to a genius master plan—they’ll swipe the security code to Zelinsky’s convenience store by seducing the owner’s daughter, Mary Zelinsky. It becomes Billy’s mission to befriend her and get the information by any means necessary. But Mary isn’t your average teenage girl. She’s a computer loving, expert coder, already strides ahead of Billy in ability, with a wry sense of humor and a hidden, big heart. But what starts as a game to win Mary’s affection leaves Billy with a gut-wrenching choice: deceive the girl who may well be his first love or break a promise to his best friends. (All Stats from GoodReads)

When I first picked up The Impossible Fortress I didn’t think much of it. I just thought it was going to be a short, easy read, which it was, but I didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as I did.

The story is told from the perspective of fifteen year old, Billy Marvin, and it took me a while to warm up to Billy. He’s young, impressionable, and all he really wants to do is create video games and see Vanna White naked. Not really my type of guy.

But I ended up enjoying his character very much. Though I found myself cringing at some of the stupid decisions he made. Billy turned out to have a good heart, and most fifteen year olds make stupid decisions. His and Mary’s relationship threw me through a loop towards the middle, I was not expecting what happened at all. I’m not going to spoil it, but Mary is not as innocent as she seems. That’s all I’m going to say about that.

Overall I really enjoyed, The Impossible Fortress, it was a sweet coming of age story. It’s very short so it was easy to get through, and it took me on a journey through Wetbridge, New Jersey in the spring of 1987. And I learned a little bit of code in the process. You can find The Impossible Fortress in your local bookstore and online.

Blog of the Month- Twin Reads

It’s the end of April, and that means a new Blog of the month! I skipped last month, because I hadn’t found any new blogs that I liked. But this month I’ve been reading Twin Reads, and I’ve really enjoyed their posts.

Twin Reads is ran by twin sisters Meg and Leah Bruce, and they post YA fiction reviews, hauls, and book tags.  They currently attend Belmont University in Nashville, TN, so we’re basically neighbors. (Photo Source: Twin Reads)

I’ve been following them for a while, but they hadn’t been posting very much. But this month they have been posting some great content. Recently they posted a list of new YA summer releases, but one of my favorite post of the month was their April Book Haul. It’s something about a good haul that I just love (I’m a bookaholic).

Seeing other book bloggers being consistent and producing great content for their readers always makes me want to work harder. I can’t wait to read more from Meg and Leah in the future. I’ll have their Instagram link down below, and check out their blog for some great reviews.

Follow them

Instagram: @twin_reads

Twitter: @twin_reads

Phoebe Robinson, You Can’t Touch My Hair Review

Title: You Can’t Touch My Hair: And Other Things I Still Have to Explain

Author: Phoebe Robinson

Genre: Humor/Non-fiction

Synopsis: Phoebe Robinson offers a hilariously smart narrative on being a black woman. Filled with Phoebe’s life experiences and her struggles of being a black woman in comedy and of being deemed the “black friend.” Robinson’s, You Can’t Touch My Hair, breaks down the many struggles that black women, and just women in general, have to face in society in an honest and funny way. (Source: Me( Surprise!! I wrote this all by myself) )

I have never related to a book so much in my life. I may have said that about, Alida Nugent’s You Don’t Have to Like Me, but Phoebe Robinson took the thoughts write out of my brain and put them in a book.

For example my favorite chapter, How to Avoid Being the Black Friend, Robinson tells her experiences with being the black friend and what to look for to know that you are the “black friend.” As someone who has been the black friend my entire life, it’s nice to read that I’m not the only one who has had this experience. If I had a quarter for every time I sat in a classroom and I was the only black person in the class, I would have a hefty savings account.

Robinson hit all the points for me to give You Can’t Touch My Hair a 10 out of 10. Relatability, humor, a unique voice, and honesty. I want everyone I know to read this, even my white girlfriends who will never know what it’s like to have black hair or to be the black friend. But luckily for them Phoebe Robinson wrote a whole book about it, so they can learn.

I hope that Phoebe Robinson is able to write more books in the future, and that she can continue to produce amazing content for her podcasts.

You can find check out more of Phoebe Robinson in the links below:

Alida Nugent, You Don’t Have to Like Me Review

 

Title: You Don’t Have To Like Me: Essays on Growing Up, Speaking Out, and Finding Feminism

Author: Alida Nugent

Genre: Nonfiction

Synopsis: “Feminist” is not a four-letter word, but Alida Nugent resisted it for a long time. She feared the “scarlet F” being thrust upon her for refusing to laugh at misogynistic jokes at parties; she withered under the judgmental gaze of store clerks when buying Plan B, and she swore that she was “not like other girls.” But eventually, like so many of us, she discovered that feminism is an empowering identity to take on. It’s okay to criticize beauty standards but still love dark lipstick, investing in female friendships is the most rewarding thing ever, and no one should feel pressured to eat an “unseasoned chicken breast the size of a deck of playing cards” as every sad dinner for the rest of eternity.
 
With sincerity, intelligence, and wit, Nugent invites readers in to her most private moments of personal growth. From struggling with an eating disorder for most of her teen years to embracing all aspects of her biracial identity, she tackles tough topics with honest vulnerability. Smartly-written, unapologetic, and laugh-out-loud funny, You Don’t Have to Like Me is perfect for readers of Roxane Gay, Rebecca Skolnit, and Sloane Crosley. (Source: Barnes & Noble)

I was only two pages into, You Don’t Have To Like Me, and I already knew I was going to love this book.

Alida Nugent writes a group of smart, funny essays about growing up and her journey to find feminism. You Don’t Have to Like me spoke on a variety of women’s issues such as safety, the pressures of  dieting, sex education, and feminism as a whole.

I wish I would I would have had this book in high school when I thought feminist were some radical group that went around burning bras and yelling at men for existing. Nugent’s book broke feminism down in a way that was easy to understand, and proves that anyone can be a feminist. You don’t have to hate men to be a feminist, you don’t have to hate Kim Kardashian to be a feminist, you don’t have to get an abortion to be a feminist, you can shave your entire body and still be a feminist. All you have to do is believe that women and men should be treated equally, and let women make their own decisions about their bodies and their lives.

It’s important to have books like this, because there are still so many people that are confused on what feminism is or are too scared to admit that they are a feminist because of the backlash they may receive. Being a feminist isn’t a bad thing, it’s a great thing. Wanting women to feel safe, and confident, and make equal pay, is a great thing.

I want to give a copy of this book to every person that I come in contact with that rolls their eyes when feminism or Women’s Marches are brought up. It’s a light entertaining read, and I highly recommend it. I’m excited to check out Alida Nugent’s first book Don’t Worry, It Gets Worse.

My next review will be Phoebe Robinson’s, You Can’t Touch My Hair, and after that I will be back to reading fiction for a little while.

Until Next Time,

Jay Reads

Veronica Roth, Carve The Mark Review

 

Author: Veronica Roth

Title: Carve The Mark

Genre: YA Fantasy

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (HarperCollins)

Synopsis:
Cyra is the sister of the brutal tyrant who rules the Shotet people. Cyra’s currentgift gives her pain and power — something her brother exploits, using her to torture his enemies. But Cyra is much more than just a blade in her brother’s hand: she is resilient, quick on her feet, and smarter than he knows.

Akos is the son of a farmer and an oracle from the frozen nation-planet of Thuvhe. Protected by his unusual currentgift, Akos is generous in spirit, and his loyalty to his family is limitless. Once Akos and his brother are captured by enemy Shotet soldiers, Akos is desperate to get this brother out alive — no matter what the cost.
The Akos is thrust into Cyra’s world, and the enmity between their countries and families seems insurmountable. Will they help each other to survive, or will they destroy one another?
Carve the Mark is Veronica Roth’s stunning portrayal of the power of friendship — and love — in a galaxy filled with unexpected gifts. (Source: GoodReads)

Before I start this review I just want to say that I like Veronica Roth and I loved the Divergent series (still haven’t seen any of the movies), but I cannot and will not base my opinions of Carve The Mark on the simple fact that it was written by Veronica Roth.

Now that I have gotten that out of the way, when I first started Carve The Mark; I did not like it. It didn’t grab me, I thought it was slow, and something about it didn’t flow right to me. I also had a problem with the self-harm aspect.

When the Shotet, the people from the enemy lands, kill someone they mark their kills by cutting themselves, hence the title Carve the Mark. Even though I have never struggled with self-harm myself, I know that there are plenty of people that have and I would never want anyone to be triggered by that.

But once I got passed the beginning, thankfully they don’t have to “carve the mark” too many times, I did begin to like the book. Specifically, the character interaction. The story alternates perspectives between Cyra and Akos, and the scenes between Cyra and Akos were my absolute favorites. I have to admit I am a sucker for romance, I can’t help it’s just so sweet.

I also liked all of the action in it, it was enough but not too much. There were twist and turns, and romance, and space. I mean what more could you want, romance and space, I’m hooked.

There were a lot of unanswered questions, so I’m thinking there’s going to be a second book. I hope there’s going to be a second book, because after that ending I need answers. But I pray that it comes to a natural end, and it doesn’t get dragged out into a long series. Because that would be extremely disappointing.

For anyone that starts reading this and wants to stop I suggest pushing through because it does get better. I will be checking out any additions to this series that Veronica Roth may come out with.

After this I’m going to be taking a little break from fantasy novels and will be diving into nonfiction for my next review with Alida Nugent’s, You Don’t Have to Like Me. I’m excited to begin reading this, and I can’t wait to get back to you guys with a review.

 

Blog of The Month- Feburary 2017

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For the past month, I’ve been searching for some new blogs to read and follow. So one night I was scrolling through my recommended on twitter when I found Twirling Pages. My first thought was, “Wow, this girl seems pretty cool,” and I then I went to her Instagram, and I loved it. Alexandra, a.k.a Twirling Pages, pictures are so cute, and she makes me want to take better photos (managing a bookstagram is really hard). But once I had effectively gone through her social medias, I checked out her blog.

First thing, I want to mention is how great her layout is, it’s really nice to look at and very well organized. I want to know how she does it. She posts Bookish things, such as reviews, discussions, etc., but she also does lifestyle posts. I really enjoy her bullet journaling videos.

Speaking of videos, I don’t think I mentioned that she also has a YouTube channel. Where she post favorites, hauls, and bullet journaling videos. Her videos are great for binge watching, but I do find myself wanting to buy all of the books that she talks about.

I highly recommend Twirling Pages, not only because Alexandra post great content, but she has an awesome personality and her videos are very entertaining. Make sure to follow her on Instagram and Twitter, her username is Twirling Pages on both.

Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram and Twitter as well, I am jayrreads on both.