Tag: Holly’s Reviews

Review: The Night Masquerade by Nnedi Okorafor

Posted January 17, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: The Night Masquerade by Nnedi OkoraforReviewer: Holly
The Night Masquerade (Binti, #3) by Nnedi Okorafor
Series: Binti #3
Also in this series: Binti (Binti, #1), Home (Binti, #2)
Publisher: Tor.com
Publication Date: January 16, 2018
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Science Fiction
Pages: 208
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

The concluding part of the highly-acclaimed science fiction trilogy that began with Nnedi Okorafor's Hugo- and Nebula Award-winning BINTI.

Binti has returned to her home planet, believing that the violence of the Meduse has been left behind. Unfortunately, although her people are peaceful on the whole, the same cannot be said for the Khoush, who fan the flames of their ancient rivalry with the Meduse.

Far from her village when the conflicts start, Binti hurries home, but anger and resentment has already claimed the lives of many close to her.

Once again it is up to Binti, and her intriguing new friend Mwinyi, to intervene--though the elders of her people do not entirely trust her motives--and try to prevent a war that could wipe out her people, once and for all.

Don't miss this essential concluding volume in the Binti trilogy.

This is the third and final installment of the Binti trilogy. The trilogy definitely needs to be read in order.

I’m of two minds about this trilogy. The world-building is well done. I thoroughly enjoyed Binti’s journey as she left her village and dared to travel through space during the first two novellas. I also enjoyed her return home and watching as she discovered more about her past, her father’s family and herself. There were parts in each that moved slow, but I was invested in discovering what the future had in store for Binti. In this installment, I still enjoyed the world-building and Binti herself. The first 3/4 of the book were wonderfully done. I was totally immersed in Binti’s world and she struggles to deal with loss, love and the possible destruction of everything she holds dear.

This seemed to be a total departure from the earlier books and the overall story-arc. Much of the story itself seemed to go off the rails in the second half. I don’t want to spoil anything, but I spent a lot of time wondering if I missed something.

View Spoiler »

While this isn’t my favorite entry, I really enjoyed the themes Nnedi Okorafor explored throughout the series, the world-building and Binti herself. The girl is a badass. I’m glad I stuck with it. It was very satisfying overall.

3.25 out of 5

Binti

three-half-stars


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Review: Home by Nnedi Okorafor

Posted January 16, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Home by Nnedi OkoraforReviewer: Holly
Home (Binti, #2) by Nnedi Okorafor
Series: Binti #2
Also in this series: Binti (Binti, #1), The Night Masquerade (Binti, #3)
Publisher: Tor.com
Publication Date: January 31, 2017
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Science Fiction
Pages: 164
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

It’s been a year since Binti and Okwu enrolled at Oomza University. A year since Binti was declared a hero for uniting two warring planets. A year since she abandoned her family in the dawn of a new day.

And now she must return home to her people, with her friend Okwu by her side, to face her family and face her elders.

But Okwu will be the first of his race to set foot on Earth in over a hundred years, and the first ever to come in peace.

After generations of conflict can human and Meduse ever learn to truly live in harmony?

In Home, Binti is returning home to Earth after a year away at Oomza University. She snuck away from her village to attend, and dealt with some harsh situations while she was gone. In the process she brokered peace between two warring factions and became an interplanetary hero for uniting two cultures. She befriended an enemy race, the Meduse and grew quite a lot as a person. Okwu, a Muduse who has become Binti’s best friend, is returning home with her. He’s the first of his race to visit Earth since a war between his people and Earth’s happened over one hundred years ago.

The first half of this novella showed us Binti’s life at University, while the second focused on her journey home. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m used the world now, or if the story flowed better, but I fell into this one right away. Binti’s journey home was at times heartbreaking and uplifting. Her personal struggles with PTSD, and her determination to act as Liaison, were well told and gave us more insight into her character. I don’t want to spoil anything, but there were some dark themes here I think are reflected in our current society. Okorafor deftly handled it all. I was angry and inspired while reading.

Once again, I immediately picked the next installment.

3.75 out of 5

Binti

four-stars


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Review: Binti by Nnedi Okorafor

Posted January 15, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Binti by Nnedi OkoraforReviewer: Holly
Binti (Binti, #1) by Nnedi Okorafor
Publisher: Tor.com
Publication Date: September 22, 2015
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Science Fiction
Pages: 90
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three-half-stars

Her name is Binti, and she is the first of the Himba people ever to be offered a place at Oomza University, the finest institution of higher learning in the galaxy. But to accept the offer will mean giving up her place in her family to travel between the stars among strangers who do not share her ways or respect her customs.

Knowledge comes at a cost, one that Binti is willing to pay, but her journey will not be easy. The world she seeks to enter has long warred with the Meduse, an alien race that has become the stuff of nightmares. Oomza University has wronged the Meduse, and Binti's stellar travel will bring her within their deadly reach.

If Binti hopes to survive the legacy of a war not of her making, she will need both the gifts of her people and the wisdom enshrined within the University, itself - but first she has to make it there, alive.

Ames recommended this series to me. It took a bit for me to fall into the story, but I enjoyed it quite a bit.

Binti is a 16 year old girl who has never been outside her City. She is Himba. Her people have very firm ideas about life and marriage, and follow old customs and rules. Binti was allowed to take the planetary exams and her entire village was thrilled when she scored so high Ooomza University offers to pay for her to attend, including all costs related to her travel to them, but they didn’t expect her to attend. The honor of being asked was enough for them. For Binti, it wasn’t. She wanted to accept her place at the University, even though she knew it would mean never being accepted by her people again. She sneaks away and takes a living ship (think: Large Shrimp-like creature you can ride inside) to the university. Though she’s different from others on the ship, it isn’t long before she settles in, makes friends and even develops a crush on a boy.

But then the ship is attacked by the highly feared Meduse, who were wronged by those at Oomza University and are seeking revenge. Binti is the only survivor. As she struggles to stay alive in an Alien world, she also finds strength in herself and friends in unexpected places.

Binti is an interesting character and I love the premise. The story is short and ends in a cliffhanger, but I expected that based on the length of the story and the fact that it’s the first of a trilogy. It started slow, but once Binti reaches the ship the story really picked up. I loved watching her open up to her fellow classmates, and my heart was bounding during the attack by the Meduse, and what followed. There are some pretty serious plot holes, but I was able to set aside any frustration over that because 1) I was enjoying the story and 2) I tend to be more forgiving of Sci-Fi and Fantasy, as the general rules of life and science don’t always apply.

I immediately started the next story.

3.5 out of 5

Binti

three-half-stars


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Review: Getting Schooled by Emma Chase

Posted January 11, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 4 Comments

Review: Getting Schooled by Emma ChaseReviewer: Holly
Getting Schooled (Getting Some, #1) by Emma Chase
Narrator: Zachary Webber, Andi Arndt
Series: Getting Some #1
Also in this series: Getting Schooled (Getting Some, #1)
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: June 26, 2018
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Romance Package
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 310
Length: 7 hours and 13 minutes
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four-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

The newest novel from New York Times bestselling author Emma Chase.

Head of the class...

Garrett Daniels has this whole life thing figured out.

The cocky, charismatic former high school star quarterback is an idolized football coach and "cool" teacher in the hometown where he's not just a golden boy — he's platinum. He has good friends, a great house on the lake, and the best damn sidekick a man could ask for: Snoopy, the albino beagle.

Then...Callie Carpenter comes home.

And knocks him right on his tight end zone.

Back to school...

Callie has a pretty sweet life herself...on the other side of the country. But circumstances — that she'd prefer to never speak of again — have brought her back home, helping out her parents and substitute teaching at her old high school.

Now she's facing bickering, raging hormones, constant gossip, awkward weirdness, and drama galore...and that's just the teachers.

Just like old times...

When Garrett offers to show his former high school sweetheart the secrets of his winning teacher ways, Callie jumps at the chance - and then has to stop herself from jumping him.

Good friends are all they can ever be.

Or...these teachers just might end up getting schooled — by love.

Getting Schooled by Emma Chase is the start of a new series featuring high school sweethearts reuniting. I listened to the audio and really loved Zachary Webber and Andi Arndt as narrators. They both did a great job of pulling me into the story and bringing the characters to life.

Garrett Daniels and Callie Carpenter were high school sweethearts. When she went off to college their relationship couldn’t handle the long distance. Garrett stayed in town and became a high school teacher while Callie went on to work as a stage-hand in California. She’s just been offered her dream job when she’s called home to help her sister care for their parents who were in a car accident. She takes a temporary teaching job to support herself while she helps them recover, which means Garrett is her new co-worker. Despite how things ended, she’s nothing but glad to see him and Garrett seems to return the feeling. As they spend time together both at work and outside of it, they come to realize they still have deep feelings for each other. But Garrett is happy in their small NJ town, while Callie has her dream job waiting in CA.

I really liked the maturity of both main characters, and how quickly they settled back into each other once they were reunited. There was some bathroom humor, and the overall tone of the story was light, but I really enjoyed the romance, and the small New Jersey town. All the characters really came to life. I especially loved the way Garrett interacted with his students, and how he helped Callie navigate her first few weeks as a teacher. I totally cracked up at the way the kids took advantage of her during her first few days. Her shell-shocked, glazed-eyed look after the first day gets me every time I think about it.

Both Callie and Garrett were very mature in their dealings with each other. This was an adult romance, with two people trying to figure out how to have a future while living on opposite ends of the country. In that regard, I really liked the final resolution. I saw others weren’t as satisfied with it, but I thought it was perfect for the people Garrett and Callie had become.

It isn’t perfect. The book started out a bit slow for me and both Callie and Garrett had moments that made me want to facepalm. But those moments were few and far between.

Though the overall tone is light, there were some emotional punches. I even got teary at one point. This was a great contemporary romance and just thing thing I was in the mood for.

4 out of 5

Getting Some

Untitled (Dean’s Book)

four-half-stars


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Featured Review: Hate Notes by Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward

Posted January 9, 2019 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Featured Review: Hate Notes by Vi Keeland and Penelope WardReviewer: Casee, Holly & Rowena
Hate Notes by Vi Keeland, Penelope Ward
Narrator: Sebastian York, Lynn Barrington
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Publication Date: November 6, 2018
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Romance Package
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 304
Length: 8 hours, 17 minutes
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three-half-stars

From New York Times bestselling authors Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward comes an unexpected love story of secondhand hearts and second chances…

It all started with a mysterious blue note sewn into a wedding dress.

Something blue.

I’d gone to sell my own unworn bridal gown at a vintage clothing store. That’s when I found another bride’s “something old.”

Stitched into the lining of a fabulously feathered design was the loveliest message I’d ever read: Thank you for making all of my dreams come true.

The name embossed on the blue stationery: Reed Eastwood, obviously the most romantic man who ever lived. I also discovered he’s the most gorgeous. If only my true-love fantasies had stopped there. Because I’ve since found out something else about Mr. Starry-Eyed.

He’s arrogant, cynical, and demanding. I should know. Thanks to a twist of fate, he’s my new boss. But that’s not going to stop me from discovering the story behind his last love letter. A love letter that did not result in a happily ever after.

But that story is nothing compared to the one unfolding between us. It’s getting hotter, sweeter, and more surprising than anything I could have imagined.

Something new.

But I have no idea how this one is going to end...

Hate Notes is a for real, standalone book. After catching her fiancée cheating on her, Charlotte goes to a wedding dress shop so she can sell her one of a kind dress. While in the shop, she sees a gorgeous dress with a note pinned in it. It’s obviously written from a groom to his bride. It’s also obvious that it didn’t work out. Charlotte is a romantic. She is determined to meet the man that wrote the note. She goes on a mission to do exactly that.

Casee: Lets get this party started. I know we all loved this book. Well, that’s probably too strong of a term. I really enjoyed Charlotte. A lot. Nothing ever got her down for long. She didn’t hold grudges. She just loved life. She believes in love and fairytales. She believes that she will find a man that will pin a note like the one she found in her wedding dress one day. She never gave up. I usually find heroines like this a little too much, but I didn’t in this case.

Holly: Love? Snort. This book was tolerable at best. Charlotte was a total Pollyanna. Everything was happy and roses. On the one hand, I admired her indomitable spirit. On the other, her constant turning-of-the-cheek, especially when it came to Reed, was kind of annoying. He was so mean to her, yet she would forgive him every time. Even without an apology. I didn’t get it.

Casee: I don’t remember it the way you do. I remember him apologizing all the time, which got so annoying because he kept doing the same thing over and over. I remember thinking that it was getting old that he kept apologizing and she kept forgiving him. That was about the only thing that bothered me about her. Maybe I didn’t look at her as a Pollyanna because I read a book around the same time that had a real Pollyanna. I just didn’t see her that way. I just saw her as optimistic. Glass half-full. That type of person.

I did think Reed was a douche and honestly was beginning not to like him at all until his problem was revealed. I thought his attitude toward life only had to do with his fiancee dumping him. I think that he had a right to be as bitter as he was, though it did go too far at times.

Holly: He thought about apologizing all the time, but he rarely did. He would always think “I shouldn’t have said those things” and he’d head to her office to apologize and then he’d just antagonize her again. I did a quick search. He apologized on page twice. There’s mention that maybe he apologized more, but it was off page. I don’t know, maybe I should have cut him more slack based on how and why his engagement ended, but I couldn’t seem to forgive him. I figured out before it was revealed why he was acting the way he was, so maybe that’s why I couldn’t get over it?

I actually liked Charlotte until she decided to “fake” a broken ankle to get Reed to spend more time with her. I mean, he was hot, sure, but he was a total dick. Why would she WANT to spend time with him? It just didn’t make sense to me. If a dude blew that hot and cold with me, I’d want him to stay away from me. I wouldn’t make up excuses to spend time with him.

I liked Reed’s grandma a lot, though. She was really great.

Rowena: Like Casee, I remember Reed being an asshole and then going to her to apologize, only to be an asshole again so I often wondered what the point of those apologies were. It was annoying but I understood why he was trying to keep Charlotte at a distance so it didn’t bother me in the end. Sure, at first there was a lot of distrust because of what went down with this ex but as they got closer, his problem kind of made sense to me. He was keeping her at arms length because he didn’t want to bog her down with his problems.

This wasn’t the most perfect of romances but I did enjoy it.

Holly: I’ll be honest. This probably would have been about a 3 star read for me if it hadn’t been for the epilogue. That kind of killed the story for me all the way around. The note sewn into her dress exactly matched the note he wrote for his ex-fiance, which was such utter bullshit. She was a total bitch. If there needed to be a note to bring things full circle, he could have at least signed it a different way. Then the dance with his daughter – it just didn’t work for me.

Rowena: Reed and Charlotte took turns getting on my nerves but in the end, I was glad that they finally got over themselves and got together. I thought Charlotte was more of a glass half full kind of gal than Pollyana and I enjoyed her character even though I thought she was pretty crazy at times (the whole signing up to view a penthouse she couldn’t possibly afford thing was kind of dumb). Reed was a dick but I understood what motivated him both in the beginning and the end and he made up for being an ass to me so I wasn’t too mad when all was said and done.

I actually liked the epilogue. I loved seeing how their relationship came full circle and the note that she found and wanted for her own, was finally hers and hers alone. That note brought her to him and I took him giving it to her in the end as his way of making sure she knew that it was meant for her all along.

This one gets a 4 out of 5 from me.

Holly: I get where the authors were trying to go, but unfortunately the story missed its mark with me. I didn’t understand why Reed was so horrible or why Charlotte let him get away with it.

I’m giving this 2.5 out of 5.

Casee: I liked the epilogue too though it was sad. I really enjoyed how Charlotte tried to get Reed to enjoy life. He needed someone like her in his life.

I’m giving it a 3.5 out of 5.

Final Grades

Casee: 3.5 out of 5
Holly: 2.5 out of 5
Rowena: 4 out of 5

three-half-stars


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