Review- Nexus

rn_rebrand_nexus_03-tiny-233x400Nexus by Ramez Naam

4/5 stars

Nexus is a drug that connects peoples’ minds together in low doses, and can allow people to alter the way their brains work in high doses. On the more extreme end, a few scientists have permanently put Nexus into their brain and used it to become almost super-human. These scientists are working to make Nexus a safer and practical drug, until they get caught illegally altering and administering the drug and are forced to give the blueprints up to the government. What happens when this potentially dangerous drug gets into the wrong hands? What happens if people all around the world are creating their own versions of Nexus, each with different purposes in mind? How far can one alter their brain until they become non-human altogether?

The concept of this book reminded me a lot of Philip K. Dick’s Ubik, which I loved, so I was really excited to start this book. Let me tell you, I was not disappointed. In my opinion, it’s very easy to write a book about the dangers of mind-altering drugs and fill it with fluffy, filler plot devices. Ramez did a great job of not doing this. The plot, characters, and dialogue were very constructive and really made me think of the pros and cons of developing mind tools.

I thought the most interesting parts of Nexus were the instances that you got to see how the drug affected the brains of the narrators. I can’t imagine what it feels like to have connected minds and experience other people’s memories, and I found reading about that fascinating. Also, the concept of treating your mind like a computer and uploading programs coded specifically to manage anxiety and stress is one of the coolest things I’ve ever read about. If that were possible today, would there be need for anxiety medications? Could there be a programs designed to help with other conditions or mental illnesses?

The negative thing I have to say about Nexus is that is dragged out a lot. I thought it should have ended 75 pages sooner, because I became bored in the last few chapters. I felt like there was a lot of extra plot and dialogue that wasn’t needed. I ended up skimming the last hundred pages or so. I hate doing this, but I was quickly losing interest and I really wanted to finish the book!

All around, great characters, great themes, great conversation starter. Like I said, this is a topic that can either be done really poorly or really well, and Nexus was definitely the latter. I love a good thought-provoking sci-fi novel, so I’m really pleased with this book.

Favorite Books of 2016!

I thought I would compile a list of my favorite reads of 2016. I feel like I read so many books that I absolutely loved, so it was really hard to narrow it down. I tried a lot of new genres this year and I’m proud that this list contains a variety of titles. I posted full reviews of a lot of these and linked them accordingly. Who knows, maybe you’ll see some books that you read this year too. Here we go!

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles– This was the best historical fiction book I read in 2016. I really needed a good novel to wrap me up in its pages, and this was exactly what I was looking for. I think I found a piece of me in A Gentleman in Moscow and I’m so grateful. When someone comes into the bookstore asking for a recommendation, I always hand them this. (click here to see my full review)

Mischling by Affinity Konar– This was a close second for my favorite historical fiction book of the year. I’m truly not usually a fan of historical fiction, but this book sucked me in. Sometimes, you need a book to break your heart a little, and Mischling did that for me. Affinity Konar doesn’t have a lot of books out at the time, so I’m really hoping she releases something in 2017. I love her writing style so much. (click here to see my full review)

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell– 2016 was the year that I got back into young adult fiction. A few years ago, I struggled to find YA lit that attracted me, but this past year I found a lot of authors that I ended up loving. I consider Eleanor and Park a classic contemporary that all young adults (and others) should read. It’s very cute with extremely likable characters and relatable personalities. I’m hoping to read Carry On by Rainbow Rowell this month!

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers– This was possibly the best science fiction novel I’ve ever read. Becky Chambers created a universe with multiple different species and alien cultures that I’m dying to learn more about. I want to meet all of these creatures and study their habits, religions, and relationships. It makes me sad when I realize I’ll never get the chance to know them. There is a companion novel to this book, A Closed and Common Orbit, coming out in March and I’m SO EXCITED. (click here to see my full review)

If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo– This was my favorite young adult read of the year. It is the first big YA novel featuring a transgender protagonist that I’ve come across. Not only is it a BIG DEAL in LGBTQ literature, it is written phenomenally well. It makes me so happy to see this book in the front facing section in large chain bookstores. I hope this novel continues doing well in 2017! (click here to see my full review)

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur– 2016 also was the year that I got into poetry. That’s right, me, the person who hated the poetry unit in school, found out that she actually loves the genre. Milk and Honey is basically the first poetry book that I’ve ever read “for fun” and now I’ve already finished 3 other poetry books in 2017. This collection of poems honestly changed my life and I think every woman, especially women of color, should read it. (click here to see my full review)

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K. Dick (graphic novel adaptation)- Who knew that such an amazing sci-fi classic could also be an extraordinary graphic novel? As much as I loved the original book, I think this illustrated version was even better. Philip K. Dick has the most unique brain that comes up with the strangest storylines and characters that exist in science fiction. I hope I can read more of his works in 2017, as I’m sure they’re all just as great.

2016 was a phenomenal reading year for me and I can’t wait to see what 2017 holds! I’ve already read 4 books in January, so be prepared for a lot of reviews! If anyone has any recommendations, please email them to be at hedgehogbookreviews@gmail.com :). I hope that you’ll all stick around with me this year and I look forward to sharing more of my thoughts with you.

Review- Milk and Honey

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

 

23513349“if you were born with
the weakness to fall
you were born with
the strength to rise”

 

5/5 stars

 

Self-worth, break-ups and make-ups, sexual assault, and a father’s absence are some of the many deep and emotional topics found in Milk and Honey. Rupi Kaur is very honest throughout the book and it truly shows in the quality of her work. Sometimes graphic, these poems articulate so many of the struggles that women and women of color can experience in only their first 21 years of life. The collection of works is split into four different parts: The Hurting, The Loving, The Breaking, and The Healing, and each is its own masterpiece.

I was afraid that this book was over-hyped because almost every bookworm I know absolutely LOVES Milk and Honey. I took it upon myself to go through the book’s tag (#milkandhoney) on Instagram and I found thousands of photographs of Rupi Kaur’s selected poems. As soon as I read a few of them, I knew I must get my hands on this book as soon as possible. The crazy thing is that it seems like everyone can relate to at least one poem in Milk and Honey. This collection speaks to so many different people who have gone through their own unique experiences. Rupi Kaur figured out how to unite hundreds of thousands of women around the world with her words.

Milk and Honey made me cry. Period. Many of the poems resonate so deeply with me that I know Rupi Kaur and I have felt the same way at certain points in our lives. It’s powerful to realize that another human being has been in the same emotional spot as you, even in times when you felt so utterly alone. The experiences that we have, as women, are not isolated events;  many of us go through similar things and can connect with one another through common feelings and reactions after them. It feels good to know that Rupi Kaur, myself, and so many other women are healing and growing together.

I’ve never liked poetry. It was always my least favorite unit in English class and I avoided poetry books at all costs. Now, I have 3 more poetry books on order at my local bookstore. I want to thank Rupi Kaur for reminding me that books and language can bring us together as readers and listeners. I hope she publishes more collections in the future; I’ll be the first in line to get a copy. Please, poetry fan or not, pick up a copy of this book.