Book

Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda

Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda

Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda (Creekwood #1) By: Becky Albertalli

Plot:

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

Review:

I decided to read this book after watching and LOVING the movie (review will be posted in February along with a ton of other romance reviews). The movie was the ultimate sweet romance, it had two people falling in love via letters which is how some of my favorite romances start. I was really excited to read the source material.

Simon is gay, but he hasn’t told anyone. When someone posts on his high schools Tumblr account that they’re gay he makes a secret email account and starts emailing them. Romance blooms.

Things get complicated immediately when someone sees Simon’s emails and starts blackmailing him. The blackmailer really sucked at it and honestly that whole line of plot was kind of rarely there, though, he did end up outing Simon who had to deal with the backlash.

The book was cute, but it was definitely a YA novel, with all the angsty teenage drama to go with it. What I loved about this book was seeing different starring characters. Seeing a gay teenager fall in love is unique in this day and age and definitely something to promote and normalize until it’s not a big deal when you see it.

Representation matters!

4/5

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Leia: The Princess of Alderaan


Leia: The Princess of Alderaan (Journey to Star Wars: The Last Jedi) By: Claudia Gray

Plot:

A LONG TIME AGO IN A GALAXY FAR, FAR AWAY….THERE WAS A PRINCESS WHO BECAME A LEGEND.

Sixteen-year-old Princess Leia Organa faces the most challenging task of her life so far: proving herself in the areas of body, mind, and heart to be formally named heir to the thrown of Alderaan. She’s taking rigorous survival courses, practicing politics, and spearheading relief missions to worlds under Imperial control. But Leia has worries beyond her claim to the crown. Her parents, Breha and Bail, aren’t acting like themselves lately; they are distant and preoccupied, seemingly more concerned with throwing dinner parties for their allies in the Senate than they are with their own daughter. Determined to uncover her parents’ secrets, Leia starts down an increasingly dangerous path that puts her right under the watchful eye of the Empire. And when Leia discovers what her parents and their allies are planning behind closed doors, she finds herself facing what seems like an impossible choice; dedicate herself to the people of Alderaan–including the make she loves–or the galaxy at large, which is in desperate need of a rebel hero.

Review:

Leia is a tragic character. Her entire world and family are destroyed by the Empire. She’s also an amazing character because despite all that she keeps fighting. Her son turns evil, she keeps fighting. Her husband is murdered by her son, she keeps fighting. One of her oldest and best friends sacrifices herself so that the resistance can live on, and I’m going to assume she keeps fighting. At this point it’s like Leia is the favorite whipping boy of every Star Wars writer. It’s depressing.

So let’s dive back into the backstory of this tragic character. Surely, we’ll find something happy and not horrible. Right?

Well, the book starts with Leia depressed because her parents have started blocking her out of things. They are no longer the tight family unit she’s grown up as. Being part Lois Lane she discovers through snooping that her parents are part of a rebellion that is just starting out. They resist letting her join, even though they all know it’s actually worse for her if she doesn’t. The Empire will still kill her if they find out.

While trying to convince them she can help she takes part in the Junior Legislature and comes to the realization that the Senate has even less power than she thought. That the Emperor and his lackeys have set up pretty much everything to go the way they want and even when she thinks she’s succeeding, she isn’t.

During this time she meets her fellow Alderannean (?) Kier who she ends up falling in love with. She thinks she can trust him and that they are on the same page. Kier is good, but he values Alderaan’s safety over the safety of the rest of the universe. I imagine his ghost was screaming ‘Fuck You Leia’ when Alderaan blew up. Because that’s right, Leia’s first love, the boy she gave her virginity to, was freaking killed.

I am not a fan of prequels, knowing what’s ultimately going to happen takes all the joy out of it for me, but I read this because one of the hosts of the Strong Female Characters Podcast repeatably mentioned that it was an amazing book and that it was revealed that Holdo was poly. I was excited about that, so I persevered. I kept waiting for Holdo to be in a relationship or something to clue us in, until finally I came to one little line. Leia says she’s going to stick to humanoid males and Holdo says how limiting. That was it. Seriously. I was disappointed and had hoped for so much more.

I didn’t need a sex scene, I just wanted a relationship or something more than a throwaway line that could have been easily missed. Sure we learned more about Holdo, and that was nice, but she came off as a Sci-Fi Luna Lovegood. There wasn’t much there. Occasionally, we got some insights into her character, but Leia for the most part thought she was flighty and weird. By the end of the book she was a bit more fleshed out, but I would have liked more. Like maybe a book about her life instead of a princess we already know a lot about.

The last line basically took a baseball bat and beat you upside the head with dramatic irony. Leia thinks, she’s got her family, friends, and planet. At least the Empire can’t take that away from her. It was massively eye roll inducing.

Claudia Gray is a great author, and this was very well written, but much like Solo I don’t think this book needed to be made. It took a character with a tragic story and doubled down hard. We got some glimpses into what it was like to live on Alderaan, which made the loss even worse, but honestly that was about it for me.

3/5

Echoes in Death


Echoes in Death (In Death #44) By: J.D. Robb

Plot:

After a party in New York, Lieutenant Eve Dallas rides home with her billionaire husband, Roarke, happy to be done with cocktails and small talk.

After another party, not far away, a woman retires to her bedroom with her husband—and walks into a brutal nightmare.

Their paths are about to collide…

When the young woman—dazed, naked, and bloody—wanders in front of their car, Roarke slams on the brakes just in time, and Eve, still in glittering gown and heels, springs into action. It’s been a long night for the tired homicide cop, and it’s far from over.

Daphne Strazza is rushed to the ER, but it’s too late for Dr. Anthony Strazza. A brilliant orthopedic surgeon, he now lies dead amid the wreckage of his obsessively organized town house, his three safes opened and emptied. Daphne would be a valuable witness, but in her terror and shock the only description of the perp she can offer is repeatedly calling him “the devil” . . .

While it emerges that Dr. Strazza was cold, controlling, and widely disliked—and that he treated Daphne like a trophy wife—this is one case where the evidence doesn’t point to the spouse as the first suspect. So Eve and her team must get started on the legwork, interviewing everyone from dinner-party guests to professional colleagues to caterers, in a desperate race to answer some crucial questions:

What does the devil look like? And where will he show up next?

Review:

It is now Feb 2060, Eve and Roarke are on their way home from a gala when they almost hit a naked woman running through the snow. They rush her to the hospital where it’s discovered that she’s been tortured and raped by, in her words, the devil. Eve reports the attack then goes to the victims house where she discovers the body of the victims husband.

The mystery was not as non-stop as the previous book, which I appreciate, but there were enough twists to make it entertaining. I was able to guess who done it fairly easy, but it was still satisfying when they were caught.

We had more Peabody in this book, but not as much as I would have liked. The books have become more Eve centric than I remember. Sometimes it feels like Peabody is just her secretary, thankfully, she did make a couple contributions to the story, but not many. It has me wondering if she will find a new partner soon, which is kind of sad.

All in all, it was a fine book and nice addition to the series, but I’m hoping for more of a contribution from side characters soon.

3/5

Apprentice in Death


Apprentice in Death (In Death #43) By: J.D. Robb

Plot:

Lieutenant Eve Dallas must hunt down the deadly snipers terrorizing Manhattan in this fast-paced In Death thriller from J. D. Robb.

The shots came quickly, silently, and with deadly accuracy. Within seconds, three people were dead at Central Park’s ice-skating rink. The victims: a talented young skater, a doctor, and a teacher. As random as random can be.

Eve Dallas has seen a lot of killers during her time with the NYPSD but never one like this. A review of the security videos reveals that the victims were killed with a tactical laser rifle fired by a sniper, who could have been miles away when the trigger was pulled. And though the list of locations where the shooter could have set up seems endless, the number of people with that particular skill set is finite: police, military, professional killer.

Eve’s husband, Roarke, has unlimited resources—and genius—at his disposal. And when his computer program leads Eve to the location of the sniper, she learns a shocking fact: There were two—one older, one younger. Someone is being trained by an expert in the science of killing, and they have an agenda. Central Park was just a warm-up. And as another sniper attack shakes the city to its core, Eve realizes that though we’re all shaped by the people around us, there are those who are just born evil…

Review:

I was dead tired after I finished reading this. The entire thing took place over about a seventy-two hour period it felt like and Eve was just constantly moving. From about 35% it was edge of your seat, very rarely let up.

Eve is just living her life, dreading going to Mavis’ daughter’s first birthday, when she’s called in for a shooting. She realizes quickly that it’s a long distance serial killer. Things just go from there.

Roarke was with her on this one, and we saw a ton of other people, but for the most part this was Eve all the way. Even Peabody wasn’t very present in this one. She was always off doing other things. She was there, but her personal life wasn’t talked about at all. I missed that, along with the other side characters, but with such a tight time frame I understand why it wasn’t possible.

The killers were…well one was pathetic and one was evil. The evil one was interesting and a bit scary. Eve zeroed in on them fairly quickly and she was better about not projecting on them as much as she has in the past.

One of the things I love about this series is that there does appear to be growth of the characters. They move on, they learn. It’s wonderful.

4/5

Ocean Light


Ocean Light (Psy-Changling Trinity #2) By: Nalini Singh

Plot:

New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh dives beneath the surface of her Psy-Changeling world into a story of passionate devotion and selfless love…

Security specialist Bowen Knight has come back from the dead. But there’s a ticking time bomb in his head: a chip implanted to block telepathic interference that could fail at any moment–taking his brain along with it. With no time to waste, he should be back on land helping the Human Alliance. Instead, he’s at the bottom of the ocean, consumed with an enigmatic changeling…

Kaia Luna may have traded in science for being a chef, but she won’t hide the facts of Bo’s condition from him or herself. She’s suffered too much loss in her life to fall prey to the dangerous charm of a human who is a dead man walking. And she carries a devastating secret Bo could never imagine…

But when Kaia is taken by those who mean her deadly harm, all bets are off. Bo will do anything to get her back–even if it means striking a devil’s bargain and giving up his mind to the enemy…

Review:

Finally, I get a book with a human love interest! I was so happy about that, and then the leads wound up being so awesome it made me even happier.

I devoured this book, it was so sweet and hopeful and exciting. Not much happened in the world, though definitely enough to move things forward, but the love story was very much the heart of “Ocean Light.”

Bo and Kaia were not perfect for each other on the surface, but it was an immediate attraction on both sides. Bo was dying and Kaia had already suffered so much loss. Bo has a secret and so does Kaia and it’s just more reason for them not to be together. None of that ever matters though. You know that Bo is going to live and that they’re going to live happily ever after, there was really never any doubt in my mind, but it didn’t make the story any less. I was swept away in the romance and love. It was perfect.

5/5