Review- The Book of the Unnamed Midwife

The Book of the Unnamed Midwife by Meg Elison
22962314-_uy200_4/5 stars
-I received a copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review-

 

The earth has been infected by a sickness, a sickness that leaves the planet nearly empty of living people. The disease also affects the unborn, as all babies that come into this bleak new world die within a few hours. Of the individuals that remain, almost all are men who are hungry for women. The few women left are traded, raped, kept on chains, married, and remarried. Our protagonist cleverly disguises herself as a man to keep safe. She’s a trained nurse and makes it her mission to offer birth control to females to minimize their risks of dying while giving birth to sick infants. Our protagonist travels across the US, walking miles every day in search of safety and survivors that aren’t looking to kill her. It’s impossible to predict how many people are still alive and, more importantly, how they may behave.

 

If you’re looking for a post-apocalyptic thriller, this is it. Or, better yet, if you’re looking for a post-apocalyptic thriller with a main character who is likable and interesting, this is it. I feel like sometimes this genre leaves authors focusing on creating their story but neglecting the voice in which it’s told. “The Book of the Unnamed Midwife” is not one of those instances. The protagonist has a really multifaceted point of view, especially about gender, and I really enjoyed hearing her thoughts about the imbalance of power between the sexes.

Some parts of this book left me feeling a bit uneasy—young girls getting raped by much older men—but then again, who reads a post-apocalyptic novel looking to feel at ease? This world that Meg Elison creates is so unique that I pushed through the uncomfortable bits; and I’m so glad that I did. The plot, characters, and writing did not disappoint me in the slightest.

I also want to add that the ending is fantastic. I had no idea where the plot was going, even when there were only 20 pages left in the novel, but the ending blew me away. Meg Elison truly knows how to wrap a story up and leave the reader satisfied. I’m always ecstatic when I close a book feeling content with the final page, and that’s exactly what I felt with “The Book of the Unnamed Midwife”.

I want to thank NetGalley for the advance copy of this book that I received. I’m grateful that I got a first look at the wonderful plot and characters. I’m so excited for it to hit bookstore shelves and see other readers love it as much as I did.

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Review- Super Sad True Love Story

510jnPKfu5L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart

Rating: 3/5 stars

“‘You don’t understand, Leonard’

The phrase I hate the most in the world. I do understand. Not everything, but a lot. And what I don’t understand, I certainly want to learn more about.”

Leonard, or Lenny, Abramov is a 39 year old business man working to make people live forever. He, himself, is not in perfect physical condition, but he travels around the world in search of good candidates. While in Europe, he meets a beautiful, and much younger, girl named Eunice who captures his heart. He journals about Eunice and invites her to stay with him in New York when they both arrive back in the states. Although very mismatched, the couple finds themselves living together a few weeks later. Through Lenny’s journal entries and Eunice’s chat logs with her friends, these two narrate what a complicated relationship truly looks like.

I picked up this book because I saw my friend reading it for his college English class. He actually told me that he really did not enjoy it, but I wanted to give it a try for myself. I genuinely thought I would like this book more, but it didn’t live up to my expectations.

Super Sad True Love Story reads more like a catalogue of events and feelings than an actual novel. Most of the book is told in the format of Lenny’s journal entries which are, to be honest, really pathetic. He is a really unlikeable character whose only redeeming quality is his ability to somehow always see the good in a girl who treats him poorly. I felt bad for Lenny while reading his pitiful diary entries, but not bad enough to actually like him as a character.

Eunice, too, doesn’t have very many good qualities about her. She plays with the heart of a man who truly wants the best for her, uses her parents for money, and seems to lack general maturity. On top of this, it wasn’t even fun to read from her point of view. I skimmed most of her sections.

I gave this book a lot of patience and wasn’t really rewarded in the end. That being said, I did read all the way through it without being put in a reading slump. The quality of writing and narration was there, but I couldn’t get on board with the characters. I wish I had liked Super Sad True Love Story more.

Review- Divergent

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Divergent by Veronica Roth

Rating: 5/5 stars

Yes, I finally gave into the hype that is the Divergent series. I randomly chose this book out of haste at my local library and took it home without thinking much about it. It has been a long, long time since I got wrapped up in a Young Adult novel, but Divergent definitely grabbed me.

Tris lives in a world that is divided into factions—each faction living off of different morals and specializing in different work. She was born into Abnegation, which honors selflessness and helping others, but feels like she does not share these same qualities with her family. At 16, Tris takes an aptitude test that is supposed to reveal which faction she truly belongs to and grants her eligibility to switch out of Abnegation. Her tests results come back as inconclusive, meaning she scored equally in more than one faction, and she is deemed DIVERGENT. Tris is told that this label is extremely dangerous and she should, under no circumstance, ever reveal her test results. When ceremony day approaches, Tris must decide if she will leave her family in Abnegation, a place where she does not truly belong, or switch into a faction that suits her better. Her heart battles between protecting her parents and staying true to herself.

I had no idea what to expect from this book, which worked to its advantage. I had not seen any of the Divergent movies or read any previous reviews of the series. Going into Divergent blindfolded was a wonderful experience and I truly got to form my own opinions on Roth’s novel.

I loved Tris, I thought she was a great protagonist with a lot of admirable qualities without pushing the “misunderstood teen” character too much. I can imagine teen girls reading Divergent and emulating the willpower and strength of Tris. I love imagining what it would have been like for my younger self to read YA books and predicting how they would have affected me. Divergent definitely would have been a positive influence in my teen years.

I liked the way that Roth incorporated the love interest in this book. The interactions between Tris and this young male were very organic and innocent. Tris learns what it’s really like to be attracted to someone and it takes her by surprise. Re-experiencing the feeling of having a first, major crush was very heartwarming and I think Tris’s emotions stayed very true to that of a real 16 year old girls.

I am so very pleased with this book and very happy that I decided to pick it up at the library. It was a quick, but very entertaining read. I plan on watching the movie sometime soon and (hopefully) moving on to the second book of the series.

Review- Defects

Defects by Sarah Noffke

imgresRating: 5/5 stars

-I was given an eCopy of this book in exchange for an honest review-

Em Fuller is a teenager living among a royal generation of Dream Travelers– The Reverians. The Reverians don’t concern themselves with matters of the Middlings, those who cannot dream travel, and hold restrictions on their population’s dream traveling adventures. Em is labeled as a “Defect” when her gift does not arise after puberty. She spends her days receiving injections that are meant to help her find her gift and farming alongside the Middlings. Em discovers, with the help of a closer friend thought to be dead for 4 years, that The Reverians have been lying about their society for years. It’s up to Em to save herself and, ultimately, the other Defects.

Yay! Another dream traveler series! I loved Awoken by Sarah Noffke so I had high expectations for this book as well. This book definitely did not let me down and I finished it in 2 sittings.

I really loved Em Fuller. She was a fantastic protagonist, very relatable, and easy to laugh with. I get annoyed when YA female protagonists have that classic “I’m not like other girls” attitude, but Em definitely has a unique voice of her own. She is strong-minded and determined. She is definitely someone that I would want to be friends with, which made the book very enjoyable.

Sarah Noffke certainly has a way of grabbing your attention with a fast-paced plot. I raced through so many of the pages because I just couldn’t get enough of the Dream Traveler’s world. I wanted to finish the book and get answers to my many questions, but at the same time I never wanted the novel to end. I’m so glad that this is going to be a trilogy because I could read about Em’s world for ages!

Honestly, the only thing I would have changed about this book is its length. I wish it was longer! There were a few storylines (Rogue, for example) that I wish had more backstory. I think a few chapters about him would have been helpful. Also, I’m just greedy and wish there was more for me to read. I’m so excited for the world to get their hands on Defects and love it as much as I did.

Review- In the Blood of the Greeks

In the Blood of the Greeks by Mary D. Brooks

in-the-blood-of-the-greeks-by-mary-d-brooksRating: 5/5 stars

*I was approved to review this book on NetGalley and received an e-book copy*

“Am I going to Hell?”

“For what? Breaking a promise that you couldn’t possibly be able to keep? You can’t control your heart, Eva…I also don’t believe in Hell.”

Zoe is growing up in Greece during World War II while her town of Larissa is taken over by the Nazis. Her hatred for the Germans grows daily, as she has lost family and friends to the war. Eva, a German girl in her early 20’s, moves into Larissa with her father, a powerful Nazi leader. Zoe reluctantly becomes Eva’s maid in hopes of taking down the Germans from the inside. Zoe and Eva, despite their differences, develop a unique friendship and eventually growing feelings for each other. Already been through conversion therapy once, Eva is reluctant to begin another relationship with a female. Still, the two find it hard to deny their mutual attraction.

Yes, yes, yes!! This is one of the best LGBT young adult books I’ve ever read. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this novel to any young girl (or woman) trying to explore her feelings and sexuality. This book put such a positive spin on coming out as gay and self-acceptance that many lesbians struggle with. Books like this give me hope that F/F relationships will become more mainstream in YA fiction.

I really loved both main characters and found that switching between their POVs was helpful in understanding their thought processes. Zoe is 14, the appropriate age for women to marry in Greece, but still very much a child. She is naive in the best ways, seeing nothing wrong with her feelings towards Eva and embracing herself. As a result of losing so many loved ones and experiencing death everywhere around her, Zoe grows into a fearless young adult. She was such a pleasure to get to know.

Eva, on the other hand, broke my heart. I read her narration as someone suffering from PTSD (due to past trauma and conversion therapy). Her inward struggles display themselves physically and mentally and it was so sad to see that through her words. Eva starts off as a shell of a person who once played against the rules and develops into a character who is learning to love again (with Zoe’s help). Although Eva’s mental conversation was less exciting than Zoe’s, I enjoyed reading her’s a little bit more.

I’m so thankful that I was approved to receive and review a copy of this book. I look forward to reading the next few books in the series!

Reading Update!

Hi everyone and welcome to my new followers! I’ve been really sick and haven’t been able to read for over a week now. I’m hoping to get back on track and finish Landline by Rainbow Rowell sometime tomorrow. I know that I have a lot of review requests to catch up on, but I’ll get them done! Thanks to all of you who follow my blog 🙂