Book review: Beauty Queens by Libba Bray 

A couple of weeks ago, I finished Beauty Queens by Libba Bray. I am however just now getting around to the actual review part of the whole process. I heard about this book from a random text post on tumblr and thought I would give it a try. The premise is a group of beauty pageant contestants crash onto a seemingly deserted island, and have to survive until, or if, help ever arrives. So like The Lord of the Flies but with way more interesting characters and circumstances. 

Beauty Queens starts off wild, and ends wild. It’s an adventure from beginning to end, and it’s just really, really fun. That’s what I loved most about this book. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, while still presenting honest and genuine characters. Even characters I found myself indifferent too, towards the end of the book I really found myself loving and appreciating. I’m looking at you, Taylor. 
Taylor is presented as gunslinging, blonde haired, blue eyed, Miss Texas Teen Dreamer. She eats, sleeps, and breathes Miss Teen Dream. She is the leader of the pack. She’s resourceful, she passionate, and at her core, she really does want the best for the survivors of the crash. 

What’s remarkable about Taylor is that she’s presented as a hard to like character, an overdrawn stereotype even, but by the end of the book, you genuinely care about her and her story. 

Now, let’s talk endings. I try to be as spoiler free as possible and I’ll continue that trend now. Generally, it ended pretty neatly and positively. There are a few things that I wish were wrapped up a little better and not left so ambiguously but all/all I was satisfied. I honestly really enjoyed this book. It was a quick, fun read. 4/5 stars for me. If you enjoy satire, or just need a break from the normal, I think you’ll really find a place with this book. I highly recommend it. 

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At the Edge of the Universe by Shaun David Hutchinson review 

It’s Spring Break! Which is pretty exciting, even though I’m definitely working pretty much everyday over break. I get to sleep in though! Which is pretty exciting. 

So! On to the fun stuff. I think enough time has passed so that I can talk about how much I really really loved At the Edge of the Universe by Shaun David Hutchinson. Earlier this year, I read We Are the Ants also by him and decided to embark on a 1-person mission dedicated to reading everything he’s ever written, because I loved it that much. 

Hutchinson does this incredible thing with his characters that makes them so real and tangible. In At the Edge of the Universe, we follow Ozzie who has woke up in a world where he is the only one who remembers his best friend and boyfriend Tommy. And oh- the universe is shrinking. We’re introduced to a wealth of characters and each of them are well rounded and developed, you get to know them all so well. 

This book also deals with mental illness and it deals with it honestly, no sugar-coating it or making it seem glamorous. It’s something that’s very important to me, so I love and appreciate how well handled it is in all of his books, especially this one! 

At the Edge of the Universe is such an honestly good book. Great characters, great plot, twists to the very end. 5/5 stars. If you haven’t, I highly recommend you read this and his other books! You will not regret it. 

Book Review: Weight by Jeanette Winterson

This is the sixth and final review from the Weekend Bulk Reviews. If you have made it through all six, I am eternally grateful and want to be your friend. If this is your first or you’ve only read a few, I still am eternally grateful and want to be your friend.

Weight: The Myth of Atlas and Heracles by Jeanette Winterson is about the myth of Atlas and Heracles. Atlas for reasons is charged with holding the weight of the world, Heracles for reasons needs Atlas to grab some apples for him so he takes the weight of the world for a while. I’ve said before mythology is one of my favorite subjects to read about so I was readily drawn into this book based solely on the subject.

I found Winterson’s Heracles to be one that I’ve not really encountered before. I found him immensely self interested and absorbed and I could see how it made up his intentions and decisions. She also painted Atlas in a way that I had never thought of. He was very caring and careful with the world and his punishment, and it was not just something that was thrown upon him. Overall, I thought it was a refreshing look at this story. I had never heard it told this way and I liked it a lot. The beginning and end had some vague narrative plots that were confusing and I’m unsure what purpose they served, but overall the story was very enjoyable. 3/5 stars for me.

Book Review: Missing You, Metropolis by Gary Jackson

Next up is Missing You, Metropolis which is a collection of poems which, if you couldn’t tell by the title, strongly center around comics, superheroes, and the lives of the people who love them.

I absolutely adored this collection. I almost want to drop the mic and leave it there, making you all go out and read it for yourself, but I’ll talk more.

This collection tells several stories. It tells the story of a young man who loves comics and grows up in Kansas and his friends. It tells the stories of superheroes. It tells the stories of the people who loves these superheroes. It even tells the stories of the ones we like to call the villains. They are not all nice stories. But here is the truth: they are all honest stories. And they are worth listening to. Read this book. Five out of five stars.

I want to real quick post an excerpt from a poem that really struck me “The Dilemma of Lois Lane.”

“Sometimes,

when we’re alone at home,

fixing dinner, you’ll pretend

to wince when you cut yourself,

and I find myself hoping

that the tiniest drop of blood

will bloom on your finger.”

Read this book.

Joint Book Review: Graphic Novel Edition

Hello void friends, and welcome to part three of my week bulk review! Today we are reviewing three graphic novels. I made these joint reviews because they are shorter but I still enjoyed them immensely. They are Giant Days Volumes 1 and 2 and The Odyssey. Let’s get started.

Giant Days Volumes 1 and 2 by John Allison were my first experience with graphic novels in a few years and were a really nice re-introduction. The books follow a group of three new friends as they navigate college, studying, romantic relationships and personal relationships.

I personally found these books to be very fun! They were short reads and I found them to be very honest and relatable when it comes to the college experience. I also found them to be freaking hilarious! There were moments in Volume 2 were I found myself legit lol-ing in pubic space, it was such a fun experience. 10/10 would read again, will continue reading the series!

4/5 stars!

Next, I read The Odyssey by Gareth Hinds. It is essentially the epic poem by Homer in graphic novel form. This was not something that I knew that I wanted until I stumbled upon it at my library yesterday morning. One of my favorite subjects is Greek mythos, so I obviously had to grab and read.

The book follows Homers poem with really amazing graphics and translations. I found this to be a really cool version of the Odyssey. If this were your only point of reference for the epic, you’d obviously miss some of the finer details but I think you’d get a great big gist of the big details. The graphics are beautiful. The pacing and organization is beautiful. And I just think the concept was really neat. 3/5 stars for me.

That’s it for this one! Happy reading, void. UP NEXT: Missing you, Metropolis by Gary Jackson.

Book Review: Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward

Welcome back, void friends! You’re now two for two for the weekend bulk reviews.

Up next, I read the remarkable Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward. It’s follows a family for the twelve days leading up to Hurricane Katrina. Our main character is a fourteen year old girl who just discovered she is pregnant. She is the only girl to three boys. Their father is an alcoholic, while they lost their mother to labor with the youngest boy, Junior.

There are several things that I love about this book. One is how fully fleshed these characters are over such a short period of time. Twelve days is not a long time but by the end of this book, I really felt like I knew this family.

Another thing I really loved was the main character Esch. She really loves Greek mythology which is probably one of my favorite subjects, ever. One of her archs is an unrequited love situation. She frequently compares the her love interest and herself to Medea and Jason which I adored on so many levels. I loved the tragedy that is the Medea, I loved the foreshadowing, I loved the casual insistence that poor black girls in Louisiana can be knowledgeable in Greek mythos, I loved the parallels between the story of Medea and of Esch.

I also loved the way the author wrote the family dynamics. They were very chaotic but still a very closeknit and loving family. Coming from a chaotic family myself, I found it relatable.

The book was very captivating and honest in a way I did not expect in the least. I adored this book. It gets the full five out of five stars for me.

Up next, graphic novel joint review! Giant Days Vol 1 and 2, and Gareth Hinds’ The Odyssey.

Book Review: What Lies Between Us

Welcome to the first of the six weekend reviews!

To start us off, I read What Lies Between Us by Nayomi Munaweera earlier this week. I went into this story pretty excited and I was not let down at all. It was actually everything I wanted The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath to be: compelling, interesting, and riveting. I could not put this book down.

The book opens with a nameless woman in prison who is in jail for a crime that is unknown to us. She says that in order to understand we have to know the story, so of course, she tells us the story. And what a beautiful story! Growing up in the rich culture of Sri Lanka before immigrating to the busy California, our woman has an interesting life.

What I have to say about this book can be boiled down to this: What Lies Between Us is the most beautiful and compelling story I have read this year. It is a story that winds almost like molasses, sweet at every turn but slow enough that you don’t know what’s creeping up on you until it has already happened and then it’s the aftermath. There are parts of this book where I have to just stop and reflect, it’s almost prose poetry.

This book gets the full five out of five stars for me. If you haven’t read this book, read this book. Let it change your life.

Up next: Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward.