Honey Girl review

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Hello everyone! Welcome to the Book Nook. It is that time of year again…kind of. Last year, for the month of December, I read books written by black authors in celebration of Kwanzaa because that is the holiday that I celebrate; and this year will be no different. Now, I did this specifically on my YouTube channel and although I didn’t do this on my blog I would very much like to do so this year. With that being said, this will be the first post in my Kwanzaa Celebration Review Series. We are going to be reviewing Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers.

I’ve heard about this book months ago and it didn’t really seem like something I would be interested in but I decided to give it a try and…I have thoughts. Before we get started, I encourage you all to comment down below and tell me your thoughts. Also, make sure you are following the Book Nook on WordPress, Instagram and YouTube; that way you don’t miss any of my reviews in the future. So, without further ado, lets get into it.

Honey Girl is about a 28-year-old woman named Grace who had her whole life planned out; get a PhD in Astronomy, get a job, be the best. However, Grace’s plan goes off the rails when she drunkenly marries a woman named Yuki in a Las Vegas wedding. This event becomes a catalyst to what Grace experiences next. She has feelings of burn-out, frustration and anxiety; feelings her ex-military father doesn’t understand. As a way to decompress, Grace spends the summer with a wife she barley knows. Grace now has to comes to terms with what exactly success, and being the best, looks like.

The pacing is good and the book as a whole is short. I found it funny, however, that the further along you go the longer the chapters are. They go from a 5-7 minute read to 15-28 minute read. But you can get through this book in a matter of hours if you have the time. I found it unique that Grace wanted to go into Astronomy but we find out later that her father originally wanted her to go into medicine. Although Grace does love Astronomy, majoring in it was a pretty big “screw you” to her father. What I found interesting is that Grace calls her father “Colonel” instead of “dad” and he calls her “Porter” instead of “Grace.” Even as a young child, her would father would introduce her as “this is my daughter, Porter.” Um…no. Your daughter’s name is Grace. I also thought the way Grace’s father talked to her was disheartening. He was speaking to her like she was a soldier and not his daughter. There was a scene where Grace tried to tell him how stressed and anxious she was about her career and he just wasn’t getting it. He then proceeds to hold open his office door and say “You’re dismissed, Porter.” Um…excuse me?! I didn’t grow up in a military family, so maybe this is the norm. But that exchanged rubbed me the wrong way and I wasn’t here for it.

Now…when it comes to Grace and Yuki’s relationship…I have thoughts. As I mentioned before, Grace visits Yuki as a way of taking a break from life. But as the story progresses both parties mentioned how much they wanted to make the “relationship work” because they made vows to each other and they take those vows seriously. However, both Grace and Yuki were drunk when they got married so neither one was in the right frame of mind when it came to making vows. Granted, they had a vibe and they really liked it each other but ultimately they were strangers, so them trying to make the “relationship work” was interesting. There was also a scene where Grace and Yuki get into it about the direction of said relationship. Grace did not plan for Yuki but Yuki ultimately wanted to be in Grace’s life. I sympathized with both parties. I liked Yuki being Grace’s “good thing” in her life but I understood how she felt about having her plans go askew. And despite the freshness of their relationship I also understood how Yuki was upset about not being a priority in Grace’s life especially after spending so much time together.

I did resonate with Grace somewhat. Grace is a woman of color and she is also queer. Although I am not queer I, too, am a woman of color so I understand how frustrating it is to have to work twice as hard to get half of what non-people of color get. I understand how frustrating it was for Grace to spend so much time in school only to be met with more roadblocks afterwards; which I why I also understood where Grace was coming from when it came to the future her and Yuki’s relationship.

In conclusion, the book was pretty decent. The pacing was even, the story is short and I did resonate with Grace a little bit. This book is not exactly a quarter-life-crisis story, in my opinion. It’s more-so an identity crisis story. I do also liked the fact that Grace got help towards the end of the book. Did I have some issues with her and Yuki’s relationship? Somewhat, yes. But they did have some good moments together and I did enjoy that fact that Yuki made life a little better for Grace.

Overall, I give it a 3/5

Until next time!

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Season 2- American Gods adaptation review

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Hello everyone! Welcome to the Book Nook. Today we are going to be doing a review on Season 2 of American Gods. I did a review on Season 1 a few weeks ago and you can read my review here. Season 1 was great and I enjoyed it a lot. Season 2…eh; not so much. Before we get started, I encourage you all to comment down below and tell me your thoughts. Also, make sure you are following the Book Nook on WordPress, Instagram and YouTube; that way you don’t miss any of my reviews in the future. So, without further ado, lets get into it.

Just a little bit of background info if you don’t already know; American Gods is about this man named Shadow who gets out of prison only to find that his wife and best friend have died. With nothing holding him down he starts to work for a Mr. Wednesday and ends up getting caught up in a war between the new gods and the gods of old.

Season 2 is still entertaining and hilarious. A few characters from Season 1 get more screen time this time around. Orlando Jones who plays Anansi is hilarious! Like, this man is so petty and ridiculous and he’s always starting something with Shadow just to get a reaction out of him and I love it. Mousa Hussein Kraish and Omid Abtahi who play the Jihn and Salim respectively also got more screen time and I liked that for them. They did change the actress that played Media. Gillian Anderson was in S1 but now we have Kahyun Kim who plays New Media in S2. Dean Wintes also shows up in the beginning and I was really excited to see him. He played Mr. Town (who made several appearances in the book) but again he was only in that one episode which was disappointing. Now…I wouldn’t say I spoiled S3 for myself but…I was looking up Kraish because I thought he was kind of cute and I saw that he wouldn’t be in S3 or at least he wouldn’t be in the next season as much because he was leaving the show. I guess the next season started going in a different direction and lot of actors left. With that being said, I am nervous about what S3 will bring to the table.

I anticipated S2 following the second half of the book but that wasn’t the case. In the second half of the book Shadow is hiding out in a small town while Wednesday is taking care of business. That’s not 100% how it happened. It wasn’t even…70% how it happened to be honest. I did also notice there was more social commentary in this season; especially concerning race. The show doesn’t bombard us with it but it was something that I noticed.

Overall, S2 was just okay. I do like that they gave Mad Sweeney a background story. I’m still not keen about Emily Browning as Laura. The season did give us a subplot following Laura and Mad Sweeney and their relationship and I hope S3 doesn’t make anything more out of it because…I ain’t here for it. S1 was better that S2 in my opinion and I hope S3 is better but after knowing that a couple of characters won’t be making an appearance, I’m pretty skeptical. But we’ll see.

Accuracy wise: 1/5

Overall: 3/5

Until next time!

Sphere review

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Hello everyone! Today we are going to be doing a review on Sphere by Michael Crichton. Now, I have watched the movie adaptation of this book years ago when I was a kid and it scared the crap out of me! Even when I re-watched the movie a few years ago as an adult it still had me shook. At that moment, I told myself that I wanted to read the book and see how it holds up against the movie but I never did. But I finally read it and it was still pretty intense. Before we get started, I encourage you all to comment down below and tell me your thoughts. Also, make sure you are following the Book Nook on WordPress, Instagram and YouTube; that way you don’t miss any of my reviews in the future. So, without further ado, lets get into it.

Sphere is about a group of scientists who are brought together by the Navy to investigate an alien spaceship that had supposedly landed in Earth’s ocean 300 years ago. Upon further investigation, it is revealed the craft is actually from the future and later on the crew comes across a huge Sphere. But once they discover the Sphere, weird things start to take place; ocean life that suddenly appears, giant marine creatures, and an emotional sentient being known only as Jerry. The crew must now figure out what’s happening before insanity completely takes over.

The book is broken up into multiple parts and each part is broken up into multiple “chapters.” Each “chapter” is a decent length and not very long. The book is about 500 pages but the pacing is pretty even. The writing style is straight-forward and easy to follow. I will say the dialogue was unrealistic in my opinion. The way the crew interacted seemed fake and I had a hard time imagining people actually talking to each other like that. In addition, whenever the crew started arguing among themselves the situation would quickly be resolved by the characters apologizing. This is not to say that some apologies weren’t warranted but people are prideful and aren’t always so inclined to make amends. So, again, unrealistic.

The character Ted was so annoying! Ted was an astrophysicist and he was extremely excited to be going on this expedition and he made his feelings known ALL. THE. DAMN TIME! Like, I get it. This is a major discovery but nobody is this excited and enthusiastic all the time. Ted was also childish and his bickering with the other crew members, especially Harry, was so immature and tiring.

Now, the story was slightly boring in the beginning. It was a lot of preparation and explaining but once we got to the “The Monster” portion of the story-line it got more intense. This is where the crew members started interacting with Jerry and things took a turn. As I mentioned before, I saw the movie so I knew what the plot twist was but that didn’t make the lead-up to it any less thrilling.

In conclusion, the adaptation is better than the book in my opinion, however, the book is still pretty decent. There were scenes in the book that were different from the movie (obviously) but I honestly didn’t have a problem with the changes. The original scenes are still pretty good. The pacing is even, the intensity is there and the concept was well executed. I just had an issue with the dialogue and character interactions. But I would still recommend if you are a fan of Sci-Fi.

Overall, I give it a 3.5/5

Until next time!

Dead Silence

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Hello everyone! Welcome to the Book Nook. Today we are going to be doing a review on Dead Silence by S.A. Barnes. I wanted to read this book because a YouTuber that I follow read this and I believe this was an anticipated read of hers. Plus, the premise seemed pretty solid so I decided to go ahead and give it a try. My main issue, I guess you could say, with this book was that it was pretty cliche. It was doing okay at first but as time went on it turned into a pretty cliche Sci-Fi story. Before we get started, I encourage you all to comment down below and tell me your thoughts. Also, make sure you are following the Book Nook on WordPress, Instagram and YouTube; that way you don’t miss any of my reviews in the future. So, without further ado, lets get into it.

*Disclaimer: spoilers ahead*

Set in a futuristic world, Claire Kovalick is the team leader of a maintenance crew returning home after a two year space mission. Claire is dreading the return because waiting for her is a desk job as this would be her last mission. However, the team receives a distress signal that leads them to the Aurora; a space cruiser, the first of its kind, that disappeared months after its launch 20 years ago. Claire has a thought; by salvaging goods from the ship her future, as well as those of her crew, would be secured financially. But as the story goes on Claire and her crew start to uncover what really happened to the ship’s passengers; and the horrors they faced. The team needs to quickly escape before the ship’s environment renders them completely insane.

I anticipated the story unfolding in a linear fashion; distress signal goes out, they salvage the ship, things happens, the crew goes crazy and the story finishes with one survivor. However, the book decided to go with the “flashback” approach. Claire is back on Earth and is being questioned as authorities believe she killed her crew to gain a bigger portion of the profits. So now, we as the reader, have to go back in time to see what really happened on the Aurora; which is cool I guess. Claire as a character was annoying to me. Claire had suffered a traumatic event where she ended up killing 70 plus people when she opened a door to a quarantine unit at Outpost Ferry. Claire was the only survivor. Throughout the story, Claire kept referring back to the event multiple times. Like, I get it. You suffered greatly. You were the lone survivor of an unfortunate event but there was no reason to keep bringing it up time after time after time. It was revealed later that Claire can see ghosts. Of course nobody besides her mom knew about this but after that incident at Outpost Ferry Claire was labeled as “unstable” and “crazy” which leads us into the “unstable character is the only survivor and they must have killed off their team members and they shouldn’t be believed even though they’re telling the truth” cliche. But getting back to the plot.

The recounting of the events stops when Claire is knocked unconscious and wakes up in an escape pod back on Earth; which bring us to the present. The company that employs Claire, Verux, wants to go back to the Aurora to find out if Claire’s story holds true. Upon arriving, it is revealed that Verux implanted a device onboard the Aurora (which was their competitor’s ship) in the name of sabotage. This device gave off low vibrations that would’ve caused headaches, vomiting and other illnesses. Unfortunately, the materials making up the ship’s infrastructure amplified the vibrations, causing the passengers to hallucinate and as a result turn on one another. And now Verux is going to cover up their mistake by blowing up the ship with Claire on it.

*sigh*

As I said earlier…this started out okay but towards the end it became pretty cliche. I honestly thought this was going to be a supernatural space thriller. I didn’t want there to be tangible explanation for why the passengers on the Aurora (Claire’s team included) suddenly started killing each other and taking their own lives. I wanted it be vague and open-ended. What we got was a big business company screwing up their money and now they’re trying to tie up loose ends; which is nothing new. The story also used Claire’s “gift” as a tool for how she was able to prevail at the end. She was also partially deaf in her left ear and she couldn’t 100% feel the vibrations which was also pretty convenient. We also don’t get an explanation as to how Claire ended up in the escape pod. She thinks she ran to save her own skin but Kane, a member of her crew who ends up being alive, suggested that she may have left to go get help. But he doesn’t 100% remember what happens either so…we’re really not sure what happened. Something else that bothered me was that during her interrogation she kept seeing Kane in the corner of the room. But…she can only see ghosts and since it was reveled that Kane wasn’t dead…how was she able to see him? Just a thought.

Overall, I didn’t have high expectations for this book because, again, I’m not a big Sci-Fi reader but the premise sounded intriguing and unfortunately it just didn’t deliver in the way that I wanted. The pacing was pretty good but I didn’t vibe with the characters; especially Claire who was irritating. The plot twist was redundant and I wasn’t a fan. Not a bad book but wasn’t what I was expecting.

Overall, I give it a 3/5

Until next time!

Skin of the Sea review

Hello everyone! Welcome to the Book Nook. Today we are going to be doing a review on Skin of the Sea by Natasha Bowen. Like with a lot of other books written by black authors, I have been seeing this one floating around ever since 2020. Since I am on a re-telling/re-imagining kick I decided to go ahead and give this a try. Before we get started, I encourage you all to comment down below and tell me your thoughts. Also, make sure you are following the Book Nook on WordPress, Instagram and YouTube; that way you don’t miss any of my reviews in the future. So, without further ado, lets get into it.

Simidele, or Simi, is a Mami Wata; a mermaid in charge of guiding souls to the afterworld. However, one day Simi decides to save the life of young man rather than let him drown. As a result, Simi must travel to the Supreme Creator and ask for forgiveness or all is lost.

First off, the pacing is even. The story itself is 300 pages so it’s a pretty quick read. With that being said, the author did a great job of telling the story in such a small period of time. Honestly, I thought this was another Little Mermaid re-telling but it’s more than that. In the Author’s Note, Bowen mentions that she loved The Little Mermaid. But representation mattered so she decided to look up some stories about black mermaids and she was not disappointed. Skin of the Skin is based in African mythology. The deity in charge of the Mami Wata, Yemoja, is actually based on a mythological being who followed those who were taken from the West African coast and enslaved. Which brings me to my next point.

One thing that turned me off was that the book mentioned slavery so many times. It mentioned people being thrown from boat in shackles and being being taken from their villages and…because it was such a reality it wasn’t something I wanted to read about in a fantasy book. However, Bowen does mention that the book is set in the 1400s when the Portuguese people first abducted and bought West Africans. The story of Yemoja was born and began to spread across the African diaspora. So once I learned about this in the Author’s Note, I did become more understanding.

There was a sort of plot twist I didn’t see coming. I also liked the way the book ended. Without giving too much away Simi had to make a sacrifice which perfectly leads us into the next book and makes me curious about what’s going to happen next.

In conclusion, the more the book went on the more I enjoyed it. To be honest, I sympathized with the characters but I didn’t really vibe with any of them; not even Simi. There was a character named Yinka, who was the only other girl in the story and of course her and Simi were “enemies” upon meeting each other. I was like, seriously? But they did come to respect each other towards the end. Something does happen to Yinka and another character and, again, I’m like, seriously?! But it is what it is. But the pacing was great, I liked the incorporation of African Mythology and I enjoyed the ending.

Overall, I give it a 3.5/5

Until next time!

American Gods adaptation review

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Hello everyone! Welcome to the Book Nook. Today we are going to be doing a review on the TV adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods. I read American Gods earlier this month (review here) and I enjoyed it. I mentioned that as I was reading I thought “this would make a good show” and wouldn’t you know it; it was! I finished season 1 and the question is; did the show do the book justice? Before we get started, I encourage you all to comment down below and tell me your thoughts. Also, make sure you are following the Book Nook on WordPress, Instagram and YouTube; that way you don’t miss any of my reviews in the future. So, without further ado, lets get into it.

American Gods centers around man named Shadow who finds out that his wife and best friend have been killed in a car accident on the day he is released from prison. With nothing left he starts to work for Mr. Wednesday; a mysterious character Shadow met on his way home. Shadow is Wednesday’s chauffeur, bodyguard and anything else he needs. However, Shadow quickly finds himself in the middle a recruitment adventure prompted by Wednesday to fight an upcoming war.

For this review, I will talking about plot, characterization and my overall general thoughts.

First, the plot. The plot as a whole is pretty much the same in the show as it is in the book. Of course, things were shifted around but for the most part the originality is still there. In the book, there are chapters titled “Somewhere in America” and the chapters take us on the journey of someone else’s life. As I was reading I wasn’t sure what the point was of these chapters. However, in the show I think this was a way of showcasing the different gods throughout time. I also think it was about displaying just how powerful and necessary it was to believe in the gods. At least that’s what I took from it. I do feel as though they introduced Mr. World too early. Mr. World plays a pivotal role and I think revealing him should have been done a little later in the series.

Next, characterization. First off, the casting for this show was *chef’s kiss*. I think they did a great job with who they picked to play each role. I was skeptical about Ian McShane playing Wednesday because the character to me is very distinguished, handsome and a gentleman. But McShane doesn’t give me those type of vibes. From our first interaction with McShane I thought “okay, I get it.” McShane does bring a certain charm and charisma to Wednesday. I think he may be one of the best parts of the show. The cast does have some diversity. Ricky Whittle, who is a person of color, plays Shadow. Yetide Badaki, who is a black woman, plays Bilquis. Pablo Scheiber was in this show and I swear every time I see him he’s always the bad guy and this time was no different. He plays Mad Sweeney, a leprechaun, and this role suits him; he’s funny. Betty Gulpin only shows up a handful of time but she was hilarious! I laughed damn near every time she was on-screen. She was just so incredulous. Now, Emily Browning plays Laura, Shadow’s wife, and I have to say…I’m not the biggest fan. Not that Browning isn’t acting her ass off but physically she’s not believable. She has these pretty brown eyes and a round face which makes her look so innocent. With that being said, I just have a hard time believing her to be a bad-ass. They do give Laura a backstory: life before Shadow, life after Shadow, life after he went to prison, etc. This was a nice addition to the plot and I can appreciate that.

Lastly, general thoughts. The show is very entertaining. It’s also very comical. As I said before, I think McShane has to be one of the best things about it and I think him and Whittle work well together. With that being said, I do think the show is better than the book. Even though the book wasn’t anything spectacular I gave it a high rating because of the writing and I found the plot compelling. I think the show does of great job of bringing a modern feel to Gaiman’s work and making it captivating.

Overall, I think the show does do the book justice and then some. Some people did not enjoy the book but I do believe they would enjoy the show regardless. The casting is great, the originality is still present and the show is amusing. I would recommend.

Accuracy wise: 4/5

Overall: 5/5

Until next time!

To Kill A Kingdom review

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Hello everyone! Welcome to the Book Nook. Today we are going to be doing a review on To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo. I bought this book from B&N a few weeks ago because I have been seeing this book EVERYWHERE. I haven’t heard any bad things about it so the question remains; did it live up to the hype? Before we get started, I encourage you all to comment down below and tell me your thoughts. Also, make sure you are following the Book Nook on WordPress, Instagram and YouTube; that way you don’t miss any of my reviews in the future. So, without further ado, lets get into it.

Lira is known as the Prince’s Bane; a siren who only steals the heart of princes for her collection. Lira is ruthless and brutal and just the type to take over for her mother, The Sea Queen. But after an unfortunate incident Lira is punished by being turned into a human. In order to redeem herself Lira must take the heart of Prince Elian or else she’ll remain human forever. On the flip side, Prince Elian feels mostly at home on his ship, the Saad. He is also a siren killer. When the ship comes across an unconscious girl floating in the ocean Elian is hesitant to trust her. That is until she reveals certain knowledge that may prove useful; knowledge that can be used to wipe out the sirens forever.

First off, I forgot this was suppose to be a re-imagining of The Little Mermaid until I started reading it and I love The Little Mermaid. Ariel is my favorite Disney princess. So, with that being said, I thought this plot was very unique. Instead of making the female protagonist a mermaid, she is made out to be a siren who are notorious in mythology for luring soldiers to their deaths. Automatically, that makes the story a bit more sinister. The pacing was great. The book is not even 400 pages and the chapter are short which means you can get through this quickly. I did like Lira and Elian’s banter. I thought it was entertaining. I also liked the buildup to their relationship. Theirs is the classic “enemies-to-lovers” trope but despite the fact that they obviously had feelings for each other, they didn’t get mushy or lovey-dovey.

I will say there were times where the plot became too convenient. For example, there is a stone/gem that can destroy the sirens and in Lira’s POV she keeps mentioning a tidbid about that stone/gem that becomes handy later on in the story. Or she mentions a way of avoiding the sound of the sirens that will eventually play a part in the final showdown. This didn’t happen too often but often enough that I noticed.

In conclusion, I don’t have a lot of bad things to say about this book. Do I think it lives up to the hype? Hmmm…I would say yes. The pacing was even, I liked the storyline, I liked the uniqueness of the plot and I enjoyed the relations between the two main characters.

Overall, I give it a 4/5

Until next time!

(2-n-1) Hood and Nottingham reviews

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Hello everyone! Welcome to the Book Nook. Today are going to be doing not one but two book reviews! We are going to be doing a review on Hood by Jenny Elder Moke and Nottingham by Nathan Makaryk. Both books center around the legend of Robin Hood and I was pretty excited to read both books. However, one book I liked better than the other. Can you guess which? Before we get started, I encourage you all to comment down below and tell me your thoughts. Also, make sure you are following the Book Nook on WordPress, Instagram and YouTube; that way you don’t miss any of my reviews in the future. So, without further ado, lets get into it.

*Disclaimer: spoilers ahead*

First we’ll do a review on Hood which centers around a young girl named Isabelle who ends up in jail after defending innocent villagers from royal soldiers. After her mother breaks her out, she is forced to leave her home because a mysterious stranger known as The Wolf is after her. She is sent out to find her father, the legendary Robin Hood. On her journey to warn Robin of impending danger Isabelle finds herself in a world outlaws, mercenaries and above all, adventure.

Firstly, the book starts off immediately. I thought we would actually see Isabelle’s attack play out and watch her go to jail but we don’t. From the first page, Isabelle is already in the jail, her mother breaks her out, tells her that her father is Robin Hood and sends her on her way to find him. All this happens in the first chapter which brings me to the pacing.

The pacing in this book is pretty fast. The story itself is about 310 pages so you can get through this in one sitting, honestly. But because the pacing is so speedy we don’t really get to spend time with Isabelle. We as the reader don’t really get a chance to bond withe her. On her journey, she comes across the Merry Men who don’t immediately welcome her with open arms; she has to prove herself. She proves herself by competing with the only other girl in the group which I wasn’t a fan of. After proving herself, the Merry Men claim Isabelle as one of their own and Isabelle feels a sense of belonging. I understand Isabelle wanting friends and family and to be a part of something but she became too attached too quickly. It didn’t feel realistic to me because we weren’t given enough time to care. From the beginning Isabelle lies to her new friends about being Robin Hood’s daughter and possibly betraying them. At some point, Adam, who is the love interest, mentions that he wasn’t upset because she lied he was upset because she didn’t trust him. Again, I found this unrealistic because everything was moving so fast and Isabelle wasn’t with the group long enough for her to fully trust them and vice versa.

One thing that bothered me was that when the Merry Men found Robin he was disguised as an Arab and was pretending to be some sort of sheik. That rubbed me the wrong way; especially considering that he was wearing a turban as part of the ruse. That could’ve been done differently. I also felt as though Robin was a little too jovial. I’m use to Robin Hood being gritty or intense like Kevin Costner or Russell Crowe and this Robin was too lighthearted.

If I had to sum up this book in as little words as possible I would say it was “too safe.” I get that it’s a YA book but I’ve read YA books with more stakes than this one. The excitement wasn’t there for me. The most exciting part was a romantic scene between Isabelle and Adam; and that’s saying a lot. The pacing was pretty rapid and I didn’t resonate with the MC. I was excited to read this book and it was bit of a let-down.

Overall, I give it a 2/5.

Now, onto Nottingham. The year is 1191 and King Richard is out on his Crusade; claiming countries in the name of Christianity. While away, Nottingham itself is in the midst of a war between the rich and the poor. As Nottingham is unraveling, the lives of Robin and his best friend William who are soldiers in the Crusades, Lady Marion who is trying to bring peace, Guy of Gisbourne, captain of the guard, Elena Gamwell, an outlaw, and Arable, a servant become intertwined.

I liked this book a little better because it reminded me of Kevin Costner’s Robin Hood, which I grew up watching and really enjoyed. The pacing was pretty good. The story is 491 pages and so we get some expansion into the lives of the characters. I did like how Lady Marion was essentially the leader of the Merry Men (who in this story are called Marion’s Men). I thought that was nice change. I thought it was interesting that Guy of Gisbourne was made out to be the main protagonist of the story and not the sheriff. In this story the sheriff is not seen as a murdering tyrant; at least not by everybody. To some, he was seen as a father figure and a man who wanted peace. This book making some of these characters morally gray was intriguing but, honestly, I think I liked it better when you could tell who was right and who was wrong. That distinction makes the story more exciting in my opinion.

The only reason this story takes place is because Marion’s men stole some war supplies from the King and the King sent Robin and William to investigate. While William is trying to broker peace between the outlaws and the sheriff by talking to the sheriff himself, Robin himself tries the same with the outlaws. After a while, the name Robin Hood becomes synonymous with the Sherwood bandits. My question is if the sheriff and Guy of Gisbourne know that William is a friend of Robin wouldn’t William himself be in trouble? Wouldn’t he be accused of conspiring with the bandits simply by association? Just something that didn’t make sense to me.

I liked the different POVs, however, I wasn’t the biggest fan of Elena’s and towards the end, I wasn’t a fan of Arable’s either. In the beginning Arable was pretty likeable but by the end she became this whiny, timid child. Elena was very brash and hot-headed and she was pretty much obsessed with her lover, Will Scarlet which, truth be told, became pretty annoying pretty quickly. This plays a role in what happens between them at the end but I just couldn’t get with Elena.

Again, If I had to summarize this book in few words I would it was “too peaceful.” This book mostly focused on politics which I think goes back to the characters being morally gray. Guy of Gisbourne claimed he wanted peace and tried his best not to kill anybody because of it. The Sheriff also claimed he wanted peace which is why he let the outlaws prevail for so long because he wanted a non-violet way of dealing with them. All this is commendable but it wasn’t what I was expecting.

All in all, I didn’t have high expectations but I was excited to read this book because I love re-tellings. The pacing was pretty decent, I liked the multiple POVs but the story was a whole wasn’t thrilling. It did get better towards the end and I did not see the twist at the end coming but it wasn’t enough to save the book. Because of the way it ended I don’t quite understand how you can have a sequel. To be honest, I don’t even know if I want to read the sequel. But we’ll see.

Overall, I give it a 3/5

With all that being said, it should be pretty clear that I liked Nottingham better that Hood. Nonetheless, the books fell flat to me. I wasn’t thrilled or excited and I was left disappointed if I’m being real.

Until next time!

The The Garden of Beasts review

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Hello everyone! Welcome to the Book Nook. Today we are going to be doing a review on In The Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson. This is the last book in the second book haul that I did back in April, May. This is the also the second book I have read by Larson and it wasn’t what I was expecting…and not in a good way. Before we get started, I encourage you all to comment down below and tell me your thoughts. Also, make sure you are following the Book Nook on WordPress, Instagram and YouTube; that way you don’t miss any of my reviews in the future. So, without further ado, lets get into it.

*Disclaimers: spoilers ahead*

This is a historical non-fiction story about William Dodds who became the American ambassador to Germany in 1933 during the rise of Hitler. Dodds uproots his family and spend the next few years in Berlin where persecution against the Jewish communities and other “enemies of the state” is just beginning.

Now, after reading The Devil in the White City (review here) I was a little skeptical about reading more of Larson’s work; mostly because non-fiction (especially historical non-fiction) isn’t really my thing. However, I decided to give him another try. Everybody knows about Hitler and the Third Reich and this book sounded interesting because I wanted to see Hitler from the perspective of someone who would’ve been in close contact with him. However, this book did not really deliver on that.

The story does take place during a time where Hitler had some authority but it was the beginning stages; it wasn’t at the height of Hitler’s debauchery. The story is pretty much about William Dodds trying his best to keep relations between Germany and America in good standing; which is part of his job. But that’s it. He only meets with Hitler a handful of times. Hitler does not have a big presence in this book which was pretty disappointing.

I was also shocked (but not really) at just how ignorant/naive the Dodds were to their surroundings. There was violence in the streets against German Jews as well as American visitors but Dodds still did not think that this was any cause for alarm. When asked if it was safe for Americans to travel to Germany, he pretty much stated “yes” despite the fact that several Americans were assaulted. And even when the victims called upon the help of the American Embassy they did not receive any justice. Martha Dodds, the daughter, was particularly troublesome. Even when she witnessed people being assaulted she still did not appreciate Germany being badmouthed by others. She even praised Hitler’s actions at some point AND she had a love affair with Rudolf Diels, the head of the Gestapo. I’m pretty sure at some point she even claims that her family was anti-Semitic, which honestly wasn’t really surprising. At some point the Dodds even considered some of the Nazi’s to be…nice? And I’m sorry but despite their “good qualities” these people have committed an abundance of atrocities and I just cannot get pass that. The continual ignorance of the Dodds family was very frustrating to witness. As time goes on Williams Dodds and his daughter do start to see problems but still. I cannot see why they couldn’t see past what was happening Germany in the first place. Maybe in hindsight I could see the issues but if I actually lived that experience I might have been ignorant as well. I don’t know. What’s interesting was that America didn’t get involved in all this until Kristallnacht or “The Night of Broken Glass” in ’38 despite the many, MANY correspondences that Germany had issues.

The bulk of this book does take place between 1933 and ’34. Once we got towards the end I felt as though we rushed through the next few years. After President Hindenburg dies in ’34, Hitler really starts to take control. Even though we know the story of Hitler’s regime I wished we would’ve spent more time with this family during this period.

In conclusion, I wanted more from the book. Not saying that it wasn’t insightful but I was under the impression that Hitler was going to have a huge role but he didn’t. I’m not going to rate this book because it is non-fiction. If you are into history, if you are a history buff and you want a somewhat different perspective into what life was like in Germany in 1933, then by all means give this book a shot. Personally, it didn’t do it for me.

Until next time!

American Gods review

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Hello everyone! Welcome to the Book Nook. Today we are going to be doing a review on American Gods by Neil Gaiman. This was a book I bought months ago in April or May and I finally read it. It wasn’t what I was expecting but I enjoyed it nonetheless. Before we get started, I encourage you all to comment down below and tell me your thoughts. Also, make sure you are following the Book Nook on WordPress, Instagram and YouTube; that way you don’t miss any of my reviews in the future. So, without further ado, lets get into it.

*Disclaimer: spoilers ahead*

Shadow is being released from prison after 3 years and all he wants to do is be with his wife and work at a job his best friend has secured from him. However, on the day of his release he finds out that his wife and best friend were killed in a car crash. On his way home Shadow meets a man named Wednesday who offers him a job. With nothing tying him down, Shadow accepts. As Shadow starts to work for Wednesday he ends up meeting many eccentric characters and finds himself in the middle of a battle between two forces.

Again, this book wasn’t what I expecting. I expected Wednesday to be a crime boss or involved in something illegal. Turns out it had a supernatural element to it. Wednesday is actually a god and he is recruiting other older gods to fight against the new gods (money and media). I thought this was an interesting concept. In the late 90s, early 2000s we started to see a shift in technology which created a shift in society as a whole. We as a society started worshiping technology more and more as well as money and material objects. Considering that this book was written in 2001 it’s on par for the course. Despite the year American Gods was written I believe the topic still holds up to this day.

I can see why people may not like this book. It could be considered boring but the word I would use to describe it would be “calm”. Shadow had a very calm demeanor the whole time which I thought was weird considering all that was uncovered while he was working for Wednesday. But Shadow is just one of those cliche, male characters that’s very chill, laid-back, go-with-the-flow and after a while I just accepted that. One thing I found interesting was how accommodating people were towards Shadow. At some point, Shadow is hiding out in a small town and everyone is so friendly and willing to help him out. To my knowledge, people in small towns are not always friendly towards strangers but Shadow had the opposite affect on the community. But then we find out that one of the old gods was “in charge” of the town and nothing happened there without his permission. He took Shadow in as a favor to Wednesday and as a result the residents were pretty nice to him. I did enjoy the idea of gods walking among normal people and just having their own secret society. I thought that was pretty cool. How they operate on a day to day basis may seem weird to us but it’s completely normal to them and because of that I was pretty unfazed when certain gods made certain decisions. There were a few chapters that I was confused by. They would go hundreds of years back in time and talk about the lives of certain individuals. Um…I guess these people were gods…? Maybe? I don’t know. There was one chapter where this woman was a god (or goddess) and she would get her powers from seducing men. I get why she’s brought up because something does happen to her towards the end. But the other people? Not entirely why we were made to read about their lives. There were also a couple of plot twists that surprised me but I wasn’t overly shocked at the revelations. We find out that Wednesday and one of the opposing gods were working in tandem with each other in order to gain power for themselves. We also find out that Shadow is Wednesday’s son and he needed a son as a sacrifice. I didn’t really see this coming but the shock value for me wasn’t there.

As a whole…there wasn’t anything spectacular about the book but I couldn’t put it down at times; it was that compelling. The pacing was pretty good and I guess you can say the writing style really drew me in. I did like the concept of there being a physical embodiment of old gods and new gods; it was a pretty decent, albeit obvious, metaphor for society. There was apparently a show based off the book and now I have to watch it because I’m curious to see how the story plays out. I’ll let you guys know when/if that happens.

Overall, I give it a 4/5

Until next time!